Responding to Need

By on May 15, 2020 in Giving

(Part two of a three-part series. Read part one, on the Foodbank of Santa Barbara County.)

Always a supporter of the communities in which its offices are located, during the last three months Yardi has committed funds for hunger relief services across North America. This week, the real estate software leader announced a second round of donations for the food banks it supported in March.

Image courtesy Foodbank CENC

Among the 22 organizations is the Food Bank of Central and Eastern North Carolina, which has seen a significant increase in the need for food supplies in the Raleigh/Durham metro area.

Normally, Foodbank CENC would distribute around 7 million pounds of food a month. In March, they saw that number increase by nearly 1 million pounds, said Jennifer Caslin, its marketing and project manager.

The food bank also had to dramatically increase spending to buy non-perishable items and prepare for the months to come. A normal outlay for one month of purchased food would be $55,000. In March, they spent $2 million, mainly to stock up on nonperishable items.

“Prior to the crisis, we had 600,000 people in food insecure households in our area. We think that number has gone up by 200,000 to 250,000, and that’s probably a conservative estimate,” Caslin said.

Adjusting to changing times

Without access to some of normal resources, like a steady supply of community volunteers and consistent donation stream from local grocery stores, the Foodbank CENC has pivoted – like almost all businesses and non-profits nationwide – to adjust workflows and best practices and continue serving as many people as possible.

To help children who might usually receive a free breakfast and lunch during the school day, they worked to supply school sites with adequate supplies for grab-and-go lunches and snacks as well as emergency donation boxes containing meals for families. Partner non-profits and relief agencies throughout Raleigh act as distribution points for the boxes, which are easy to load in a contactless manner.

CENC is especially grateful for volunteers who have been able to continue to help during such a busy time. “Normally during a weather disaster or crisis it is all hands on deck and we have a huge influx of help,” explained Caslin. “People would be knocking down the doors to volunteer. But with the nature of this crisis, that’s not possible.”

The National Guard, North Carolina Veterans Corps and Elevation Church have been among those continuing to serve. Among their projects have been delivering boxes of non-perishable food items to homebound seniors.

Caslin said that those healthy and willing to volunteer are still welcome to donate their time, and new protocols at the food bank provide for small groups, social distancing and personal safety.

Foodbank CENC is also in continued need of financial support.

“Our most immediate need is funds, which allows us to be flexible, purchase food if needed, hire additional help, or transport donations if they come from other areas,” Caslin said. “We are planning to have to respond to this crisis for quite awhile.”

Learn more about the efforts to help in the Raleigh area.