Feed the Need

Fighting hunger, through volunteerism and YouTube

Greg Ng chats up Durham Bulls mascot Wool E. Bull during a telethon for the Food Bank of Central & Eastern North Carolina in September.
Greg Ng chats up Durham Bulls mascot Wool E. Bull during a telethon for the Food Bank of Central & Eastern North Carolina in September. COURTESY OF FOOD BANK OF CENTRAL & EASTERN NORTH CAROLINA

Greg Ng spends a lot of time thinking about food.

The Cary man hosts a frozen-foods review show on YouTube that is regularly seen by thousands of people. In each segment of Freezerburns, Ng talks about the merits and shortfalls of everything from frozen pizza to ice cream to pre-packaged entrees.

And since last May, 37-year-old Ng has volunteered with the Food Bank of Central & Eastern North Carolina. In September, he spearheaded the group’s first 24-hour telethon in Raleigh that raised about $20,000.

Ng said he always had plenty to eat when he was growing up, and he’s grateful that he can provide for his wife and three young children.

“But I feel like I’ve always been compassionate for those who aren’t as lucky as I am,” he said.

Once a month, Ng volunteers at the food bank’s warehouse in Raleigh, where he sorts sweet potatoes, sifts through canned goods and organizes eggs into dozens.

He decided to put his skills as a marketing executive and minor YouTube celebrity to use for the food bank. So he planned the telethon and spread the word about it during Freezerburns segments and through other outlets.

His show has gained an international audience, and Ng said it’s a great platform to remind people that hunger is a worldwide problem. Closer to home, he said, it’s a good way to let people know how they can help.

The whole idea, Ng said, is to make it easier for people join the fight against hunger – through donations or volunteering.

The telethon was streamed live on the food bank’s Web site. He’s already planning for another telethon in September, which is Hunger Action Month, and he hopes to exceed last year’s donations.

Ng’s efforts, particularly the telethon, have helped bring the food bank “to a new level,” said spokeswoman Jennifer Caslin.

“The way the community responded to it was amazing,” she said.

Every $1 raised can provide five meals or $10 worth of food, Caslin said. So $20,000 goes a long way.

And Ng isn’t stopping, with the food bank or his show. He recently filmed the 575th episode of Freezerburns in his kitchen.

Ng said he doesn’t eat a lot of frozen meals, opting instead for fresh foods. He got the idea for the show when he saw his coworkers line up at the workplace microwave to prepare their frozen lunches.

One of the things he appreciates most about the food bank is its focus on providing nutritious food to those who need it most.

“It’s not just about canned food,” Ng said. “It’s about providing as healthy and well-balanced meals as they can.”