CHARLOTTE, N.C. — A grocery delivery program is the fastest growing initiative at a nonprofit in Mecklenburg County.
What You Need To Know
- A grocery delivery program is the fastest growing initiative at Loaves & Fishes/Friendship Trays
- The program initially started to help people with COVID-19, but it has now expanded to serve people with transportation needs
- It helps up to 350 people a week
Loaves & Fishes/Friendship Trays launched the free grocery home delivery program in April of 2020.
It initially started to serve people with COVID-19 who were quarantining at home. The program expanded to help people in need who don’t have transportation or don’t have someone to pick up groceries on their behalf.
Loaves & Fishes/Friendship Trays Community Outreach Director Danielle Moore said the nonprofit knew they needed an answer to serve clients with transportation barriers before the pandemic.
The program, which operates three times per week, is serving up to 350 people a week.
Moore said recently the need has been increasing.
“I think people are really down on luck and just really needing a hand up. They were already dealing with a lot and then COVID hit and made things 10 times worse, so now they’re dealing with a health crisis on top of a financial crisis,” Moore said.
Aimee Baldwin is one of the 15 regular drivers who volunteers for the program once a week.
She has been working remotely since the pandemic started, which saves her 90 minutes of commute every day.
“This allows me the flexibility to step out from working at home, in my home office, and be able to reach out to the community and do these deliveries with this great organization,” Baldwin said.
Baldwin picks up packed groceries from Loaves & Fishes/Friendship Trays and delivers them to doorsteps in the Charlotte area.
During one of her routes in September, Baldwin delivered food to someone without a home for the first time ever.
“I do it to give back to my community,” Baldwin said.
Those who are in her route are grateful for the support.
”Every little bit helps,” Gary Nance-Bey said.
When Baldwin delivers meals, she often thinks about a time when she worried where her next meal would come from.
“I would try to grab as much cheaper food as I could find so I could have food for an entire week,” Baldwin said. “I didn’t have any bills go past due but it came close multiple times.”
Baldwin said after high school she worked full time at a minimum wage job and was having trouble making ends meet.
“Back 20 years ago or so, this was a position I was in and that wasn’t even in a pandemic,” Baldwin said.
Now that her situation has improved, she wants to help.
“It’s very important that if I can do something little to give back to the Charlotte community, that whenever I have a chance to do this, I take advantage of it,” Baldwin said.
The grocery home delivery program has helped more than 10,000 people in Mecklenburg County.
September is hunger action month, a time when people are encouraged to take a stand against hunger by volunteering, donating and speaking up.
If you are interested in volunteering, donating or need help, click here.