Food drive for hungry among inaugural events

The economic downturn is hitting food banks hard. Supplies are dwindling and until the economy turns around, demand for free groceries is expected to continue to increase.

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RALEIGH, N.C. — Amid the inaugural festivities, volunteers will be collecting food to help North Carolina's neediest residents.
Volunteers with the Food Bank of Central and Eastern North Carolina will accept non-perishable food items near the Division of Archives and History building, at Jones and Wilmington streets, before the 10:30 a.m. ceremony.

After the swearing-in, the Food Bank truck will be outside the Executive Mansion, 201 N. Blount St.

The Food Bank distributed a list of its most-needed items.

"It's a North Carolina tradition for neighbors to help neighbors," said Meg Ryan O'Donnell, director of the 2009 Inaugural Committee. "The inaugural ceremonies are a great opportunity for those facing difficult times during this recent economic downturn."

Volunteers said economic woes have driven up to 30 percent more people to seek help from food banks.

"Opportunities like the inauguration are more crucial than ever to engage the community and our leaders in the hunger fight," Liz Reasoner, executive director of the Food Bank of the Albermarle, said.

In an average month, the Food Bank gives about 2.7 million pounds of food. But in October, distribution shot up to 3.5 million pounds.

Donations collected at the inauguration will go to the N.C. Association of Feeding America Members, which represents seven food banks serving all 100 counties.

The Food Bank of Central and Eastern N.C., an association member, serves more than 450,000 people in 34 counties, via a network of 900 partner agencies. Nearly 30 percent of its recipients are children, and another 18 percent are elderly.


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