The Food Bank of Central and Eastern North Carolina is putting a new twist on its traditional request for donations this year with its first online telethon.
The 24-hour event starts Friday at 6 p.m. and will be streamed live on the nonprofit's website, foodbankcenc.org.
There's also a social media mixer that will be held at the Food Bank's Raleigh Warehouse, at 3808 Tarheel Drive, from 6 p.m. to 8:30 p.m., where people can win prizes, learn how to become involved and donate money and food.
The event coincides with Hunger Action Month, a nationwide effort to help feed nearly 49 million people facing what the federal government calls "food insecurity."
According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, one in six families, or 14.9 percent of the U.S. population, ran short of food in 2011.
In North Carolina, an estimated 3.72 million people, or 17.1 percent of households, experienced some kind of food shortage.
The Food Bank of Central and Eastern North Carolina provides food to more than 900 agencies, such as soup kitchens, pantries and shelters, in 34 counties.
"The things the food bank always needs are people's time, food and money," said Jennifer Caslin, the food bank's marketing coordinator and spokeswoman. "(For) every dollar donated to us, we can provide $10 worth of food."
Tri-Area Ministry in Wake Forest is one of the food bank's partnering agencies. Last month, its food pantry fed 800 families.
"We keep thinking it's going to plateau, but it keeps increasing," volunteer Anna Weaver said. "What I try to remember is, 'It could be you.' It could be anybody that needs help."