Local News

Wayne County food assistance program moves to fairgrounds due to high demand

Posted November 9, 2020 6:32 p.m. EST

— A non-profit group called Three In One Family Center has been distributing boxes of food to people in need across Wayne County since June.

They set up at the Maxwell Agricultural and Convention Center every Monday and feed about 3,500 people in Wayne County.

Anywhere from 800 to 1,200 cars show up, causing some traffic problems on Wayne Memorial Drive. The county is concerned about the traffic blocking access to nearby Wayne Memorial Hospital, so it's having the program move to the Wayne County fairgrounds, just south of Goldsboro.

The line of cars winding around the Maxwell Agricultural Center is impressive. It's also instructive, because it illustrates how great the need for food assistance in Wayne County.

No need to give names. No need to prove your need. You need only show up.

"The only thing that qualifies them is that they get in line," said organizer Gregory Quick. "That demonstrates, exhibits, a need."

The wait can stretch an hour or two.

Robert Davidson picked up food for eight families.

"I come because people are in need," he said. "People don't have vehicles to come out. There are lots of people here hurting for food. Not only food, but people need help.

20:40:13-10:30:21 "I COME BECAUSE PEOPLE ARE IN NEED. PEOPLE DON'T HAVE VEHICLES TO COME OUT. THERE ARE LOTS OF PEOPLE HERE HURTING FOR FOOD, NOT ONLY FOOD, BUT PEOPLE NEED HELP."

22:30:23-22:30:26 "THE NUMBER OF CARS? WE'RE PROBABLY SOMEWHERE FROM 800 TO 12-HUNDRED CARS."

Quick, with his wife Cassandra, founded the Three In One Family Center in 2003.

Every Monday, about 1,300 boxes of food arrive at the Maxwell Center, each with eggs, milk, vegetables and more.

Volunteers load them up. This non-profit partners with the USDA and the North Carolina Food Bank.

"Since we got started, we have grown tremendously," Quick said. "It's picking up speed."

But the traffic jam on Wayne Memorial Drive means the program has to move to the county fairgrounds.

County spokesman Joel Gillie says the line of cars has been stretching down to Wayne Memorial Hospital, over a miles away.

"Which is a problem for public safety, when you have traffic stopped in front of a hospital," he said. "Ambulances can't get in and out."

He says the fairgrounds has abundant space and can handle all the traffic.

Kenneth Strickland will keep coming, as he has for two months.

"I'm on disability, and the food helps out a lot," he said. "I think they should keep it up."

22:37:19-22:37:25 "I'M ON DISABILITY, AND THE FOOD HELPS OUT A LOT. I THINK THEY SHOULD KEEP IT UP."

The line is long, but to watch it... is to be moved by it.

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