A food drive meant to combat hunger in eastern Wake County area is working hard to meet its goal of donating 1,000 pounds of food after a spike in donations during the holidays.
The Wendell Rotary Club began its food drive June 1, at the beginning of its year. It was part of the Rotary district’s mission to focus on alleviating some of the need for food.
“People need food out this way, it doesn’t just stop because the holidays are over,” said Wendell Rotary president Bruce Lynch.
The club began its effort by asking members to bring a few canned goods to weekly meetings. As the holidays approached, Rotarian Stacy Bradfield, who works at KS Bank in Wendell, suggested setting up a donation bin at the bank.
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“I knew that there was a need and being a Rotary member, I knew this was a push of theirs as well,” she said. “We’re a small community bank (so) we have the flexibility to do these things.”
Bradfield said the bank sometimes has other donation bins, but they tend to show up around the holidays. She said another aspect of Rotary’s effort that made it appealing for the bank to help was that the club’s effort would be benefitting the local community.
“The thing I like about (Rotary’s drive) is all of this is going to our local food banks,” Bradfield said. “It’s staying in the community.”
In the first six months of collection, the group collected 450 pounds of food. They’ve donated it to local food pantries including Wendell United Methodist and the Helping Hand Mission.
“Some people gave money in addition to food, (but) it’s been slow from the bank side since the holidays because no one is really thinking about it,” Lynch said. “Even though Wake County is a relatively wealthy county, there is still poverty.”
Currently, the donation box at KS Bank is empty, but Rotarians are hoping to change that.
Lynch said in order for the club to reach its goal of collecting and donating 1,000 pounds of food in a year, they’ll need about 500 more pounds of canned goods before July.
Club members are still bringing canned goods to meetings, but the group only has about 14 more meetings before the year ends.
Lynch said he would like to meet the club’s goal, but any number of canned goods is an achievement.
“Even if we fall short of 1,000 pounds it’s still a bunch of cans of food that go to the pantry that gives someone some nutrition,” he said.
Each year, Rotary identifies a need for the community and tries to find a way to help the community. Last year, the group took on literacy and held a book drive. Rotary clubs across north-central North Carolina had a 40,000-book goal and managed to collect about 50,000, Lynch said.