RALEIGH – McKinley Wooten grew up in eastern North Carolina where people were low on funds but big on heart. He remembers fostering a child who would sometimes squirrel away food in his room, even though Wooten and his wife kept the pantry well-stocked. When asked why, the child replied, “You might run out.”
Now Chairman of the State Employee’s Credit Union (SECU) Foundation’s Board of Directors, Wooten is doing everything he can to make sure no child runs out of food. Today, SECU Foundation representatives donated $1.2 million to be distributed in all 100 North Carolina counties through the NC Association of Food Banks. This donation will help Inter-Faith Food Shuttle and Food Bank of Central and Eastern North Carolina expand and deepen the reach of the community food system here in the central part of the state to help battle the devastating effects of hunger.
“Our motto is ‘People helping people,’” said Wooten. “This donation will provide up to 6 million meals over the next 3 years– one extra meal per year funded by each of the Credit Union’s 2 million members. “
SECU Foundation’s grant will assist with procuring and distributing additional shelf stable food items that are not ordinarily donated or are in short supply. The grant will also help procure additional fruits and vegetables to improve nutritional content, tying in with the Association’s statewide Farm to Food Bank initiative to rescue unharvested or unsold produce.
“This donation helps us go statewide with healthy produce, “ said Jill Staton-Bullard, CEO and Co-founder of Inter-Faith Food Shuttle (IFFS). “When we have more produce, we have a healthier community.”
Today’s presentation took place on the grounds of one of IFFS’s largest, and longest-running, food donors, the North Carolina State Farmers Market.
“Since 2010, North Carolina has regularly ranked among the top ten states with the highest percentage of citizens experiencing food insecurity and we have one of the highest percentages in the U.S. of children under 18 who are food insecure on a regular basis, 26.7% or over 1 in 4,” said Alan Briggs, Executive Director of the NC Association of Food Banks. “SECU Foundation’s grant will help us close the meal gap, providing a source of funds to purchase basic necessities and help expand our ability to meet the growing needs in our State. We deeply appreciate the support from SECU members through their generous funding and commitment to this project.”