East Spencer nonprofit suspending food assistance program

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, December 2, 2009

The National Community of Disabled and Elderly (NCODE Inc.), a nonprofit public charity operated out of East Spencer, is suspending its “Bridging the Gap” food assistance program effective Feb. 1.
Shelia Boatman, NCODE founder, said in a press release that the program ó which solicits food donations and delivers it to the chronically disabled, elderly and needy in the area ó is being suspended due to a lack of resources.
“Our primary food resources have been the Food Lion Corp. and Second Harvest Food Bank-Metrolina Charlotte, or in some instances, wherever we could find food,” Boatman said. “It grieves our heart to make this decision … Our mission has met with great success in reaching the hidden poor, but it has also met difficulty in sustaining the operation, especially during last year’s gas crunch.”
Boatman said the need for food assistance for the needy has almost tripled since NCODE launched its two-year pilot program in 2005 and that its board of directors “must take time to step back, re-evaluate and do the necessary research in order that we may be more effective.”
“We must also lay to rest our only source of transportation, a 1989 Aerostar van,” she said, which she described as being “on its last horse.” Boatman, who owns the van, said it has helped provide food assistance to more than 3,741 needy, disabled and elderly individuals and families, of which 90 percent reside in Rowan and 10 percent in Cabarrus.
“We are overwhelmed with gratitude for the in-kind support from many churches, businesses and interested persons that have helped in some way to keep our unfunded mission on its feet during these formative four years,” she said.
“However, at this time, especially given the state of the economy, we must come in from our ‘field’ mission and sit down and seek the necessary resources and financial support and also to recoordinate and re-evaluate our programs …
“This will allow us to be efficient given the increased demand for our assistance and a more effective, innovative example mission in the nonprofit arena here in North Carolina and to our future affiliates in other states.”
Boatman said NCODE clients will receive a newsletter announcing the suspensions and listing other agencies which may be able to assist them.
Written inquiries, comments or suggestions may be mailed to: Board of Directors, NCODE Inc., P.O. Box 805, East Spencer, NC 28039.