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Raleigh Food Shuttle Seeks Funding For Extra Expenses

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RALEIGH, N.C. — Its work helps feed the hungry, but the Interfaith Food Shuttle is starving. It's not suffering from a shortage of food, but the money it needs to make deliveries.

The shuttle picks up food from more than 200 places, and then volunteers sort it, load it and deliver it. Last year, the Interfaith Food Shuttle rescued more than 5 million pounds of food that would have been thrown away. It helps local organizations feed the hungry.

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    "We don't want to lose them for just a few tough months," says Raleigh Mayor Charles Meeker.

    The 17-year-old non-profit is hungry for $150,000 to make it through the fiscal year. Right now, 97 cents of every dollar it collects goes toward programs. This year, however, that hasn't been enough.

    There's an additional $37,000 in higher gas prices, more victims from Hurricane Katrina to feed, donor fatigue because of the hurricane, the loss of a contract and a new building. They're all clearing the shuttle's financial plate.

    "One or two we could have handled, three or four we would have stretched, all five has sent us into crisis," said Jill Staton Bullard, Interfaith Food Shuttle co-founder.

    It's vital to get these perishable items where they need to go quickly, but the food shuttle has had to cut back its deliveries in its seven county service area.

    The Shepherd's Table soup kitchen relies solely on the shuttle to feed more than 300 people a day. The soup kitchen now gets about half the food it's used to.

    "It's cut back our ability to feed the people in Raleigh," said Shepherd's Table director Tamara Gregory.

    And that concerns recipients like Ronald Quick.

    "Where will you go to get at least one meal a day, a good one?," says Quick.

    A Raleigh City Council committee recommended giving the food shuttle $25,000. Wake County is considering a $125,000 donation. Interfaith is now working on long-term strategies so it won't face the same challenges again.


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