Local News

Thrive NC festival turns spotlight on hunger

Posted May 11, 2018 3:43 p.m. EDT
Updated July 13, 2018 11:15 a.m. EDT

— More than 100 volunteers were at the Thrive NC festival Friday, packing food for needy young people and senior citizens in the Triangle.

The event, which is wrapping up a two-day run, aims to raise awareness about food insecurity in central North Carolina. Proceeds from the sold-out event, which is sponsored in part by Capitol Broadcasting Company, the parent of WRAL TV, will allow participants to sample unlimited food and drink provided by local restaurants.

On Friday, over 100 volunteers gathered to pack food for the Backpack Buddies program and for more than 300 seniors.

Betsy Graves

Some Wake County public schools have turned to food pantries to provide meals to those in need.

At Broughton High School, teacher Betsy Graves organized a food pantry to ensure that students could focus on learning without being hungry. In some cases, it's a student's only option for having a satisfying, nutritious meal.

"We try to organize it based on vegetables," Graves said. "A student's ultimate focus at school should be about learning, and how do you learn if you're starving or if you're just hungry and didn't get dinner the night before."

The pantry, like others at Wake County public schools, allows students and other school members to come in and discreetly shop for needed groceries.

Inter-Faith Food Shuttle, is a nonprofit group that says it recovers and distributes 6 million pounds of food every year, has provided supplies to help stock the food pantry at Broughton.

The group has provided supplies for to help stock the food pantry at Broughton.

"Inter-Faith provided our refrigerator and all of our racks," said Graves, who had run the pantry out of her classroom, until the partnership with Inter-Faith Food Shuttle allowed her to expand it.

The agency delivers food up to twice a month to Wake County public schools, which also receive fresh produce and frozen meals, provided the perishable items can be stored safely.

Julie Cox, who work at Inter-Faith, said the state's hunger problem requires many people to pitch in and help.

"I think there's still a lot of work to do," she said. "We try to look at it in a holistic way, but the first step is to get people fed."

Graves said she is grateful for the group's help.

"What I love about the pantry is it's not leftovers," she said. "It's new and what people want, when they want it."