Under the Dome

State donations help food banks

Gov. Pat McCrory was in Charlotte this morning to announce that he was releasing $750,000 in state funds to the seven regional food banks that are part of the North Carolina Association of Feeding America’s Food Banks.

Meanwhile, the NC Attorney General’s Office announced it was giving $2 million to the Food Bank of Eastern and Central NC to distribute to food banks statewide.

The governor’s funds are part of a $3 million appropriation for food banks that was included in the state budget. McCrory directed the budget office to issue an advance to help stock the shelves.

The AG’s money comes from settlements his office has made with food and pharmaceutical companies.

The governor, made his announcement at the Second Harvest Food Bank in Charlotte, and said the funds were needed to help the food banks handle the extra demand created, in part, from the federal government shutdown.

McCrory was joined by DHHS Secretary Aldona Wos, State Budget Director Art Pope and Frank Perry, Secretary of the Department of Public Safety.

“My top concern is that, as the shutdown lingers, there will be hardship for those who depend on these services,” Wos said in a statement. “The situation remains very fluid, but I am committed to doing everything in my power to minimize the impact on our most vulnerable citizens. I urge federal officials to fulfill their responsibilities.”

Last Tuesday, NC became the first state to stop issuing new vouchers for its food and nutrition program for mothers and their children, affecting about 20 percent of those who receive the help. It ended up being a temporary suspension after Pope said the state had the money.

The NC AG’s announcement of its $2 million grants noted that 1 in 5 North Carolinians lack access to enough food, including more than 1 in 4 children under the age of 5.

In 2011, the AG awarded $741,220 to the state's food banks as part of a price fixing settlement with major vitamin manufacturers, and $100,000 in 2004 as part of another settlement.

“We’re investing in our food banks to help struggling families and encourage others to get involved by donating or volunteering in their local communities,” Cooper said in Monday's statement.