As the director of Enlighten The World Ministries, Thom Miles stays busy making sure families in Sampson County have food on their tables. A new grant will help Miles and other regional agency leaders with that mission.
The Second Harvest Food Bank of Southeast North Carolina (SHFB) recently announced a $25,000 grant from the Walmart Foundation to help partner agencies. It will be used to help organizations give nutritious food to needy families. According to a news release from SHFB, an Actions Pathways program, funds will support equipment necessary to handle perishable products. Some of them may include refrigerated vehicles, coolers, freezers and temperature calibration devices.
Addressing hunger issues is one Action Pathway’s goals in its mission to help people facing economic struggles. The nonprofit group operated community-base programs in southeastern region of North Carolina for more than 50 years. It’s formerly known as the Cumberland Community Action Program, Inc.
Miles showed appreciation for Walmart’s donation.
“When Second Harvest receives a grant such as that, it filters down to agencies like ours,” Miles said about the Enlighten The World Ministries Community Assistance program.
Enlighten The World Ministries purchases food from the food bank for less than 25 cents per pound. After the SHFB donations receive donations, food is purchased for less. Miles said these actions saved the ministry more than $200 in food, which is served on the second Saturdays. Groceries are distributed to 500 people.
“This savings helps us greatly as we have seen a significant drop in financial donations from the community,” Miles said. “Sampson County is battling poverty where 1 in 4 people are living beneath poverty and struggling with food in security. We greatly need the community to support area food banks.”
The Walmart Foundation provides food and money donations to the Feeding America nationwide network of 200 food banks. In 2017, the foundation has donated more than $1.4 million in retail value food and non-foods. More than 40 percent was fresh produce. Their goal is to provide 4 billion meals to people by 2020.
Ron Pringle, program director of the SHFB of Southeast North Carolina, said the grant will go a long way in helping the organization and partnering agencies serve Sampson, Bladen, Cumberland, Duplin, Harnett, Hoke and Robeson counties. SHFB collects food from retailers in the seven-county region. The service area is primarily rural locations.
“One in five people struggle with hunger in Cumberland and the surrounding counties including more than 51,000 children,” Pringle stated in the news release. “We are thankful to the Walmart Foundation for helping to ensure that people who struggle with hunger have access to nutritious food.”