United Way hosts food drive for local pantries, soup kitchens

BY JOHN BAILEY

jbailey@ccunitedway.com

To meet the increasing needs of food insecurity because of the current COVID-19 outbreak, the Catawba County United Way is planning on hosting a county-wide food drive the last week of June. 

The focus of the event will be on gathering food items to support the pantries of our funded partners – The Salvation Army, Eastern Catawba Cooperative Christian Ministry (ECCCM) and Greater Hickory Cooperative Christian Ministry. The drive will benefit the county’s two soup kitchens – The Corner Table in Newton and the Hickory Soup Kitchen.

“We have seen an increase in the number we are serving, and we expect that number to rise over the next several months due to Covid-19,” The Corner Table Executive Director Summer Jenkins said.

The Newton soup kitchen averages around 150 guests during its one-hour lunch service and averages over 3,600 meals per month, Jenkins said.  

The numbers are similar for ECCCM, serving 120-140 families per day, depending on the time of the month. Last year, the agency served 8,592 individuals. During the first two weeks of the current outbreak, the ministry saw a 65 percent increase in food requests, ECCCM Executive Director Rev. Robert Silber said.

Items requested include: can vegetables, can fruits, dry pinto beans, instant potatoes, peanut butter, chicken base, beef base, gravy mix, pasta noodles, mayo, mustard, BBQ sauce, egg noodles, cheese sauce, cornbread stuffing mix, Vienna sausages, pickle spears, sauerkraut, baked apple slices, canned carrots, mayo packets, ketchup packets, mustard packets, canned soup, canned/dried/packaged fruit, canned meats, canned pastas (spaghetti and meatballs, ravioli, etc.), rice, mac and cheese, instant potatoes and anything individually wrapped (for homeless bags).

For more than 75 years, the Catawba County United Way has focused on helping our community during a crisis by connecting the dots between public needs and local resources.

Support this current effort by bringing donations to the United Way’s office in Hickory – 2760 Tate Blvd SE – from June 22 to June 26, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.

If you have any questions or would like to volunteer to be a collection site call 828-327-6851 or email John Bailey at jbailey@ccunitedway.com.