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Livingstone College to distribute food, gift cards, hot meals

SALISBURY — Livingstone College will distribute food boxes and Food Lion gift cards on campus Tuesday  to address food insecurity in the Salisbury area.

Livingstone Feeds is scheduled for 11 a.m. until 2 p.m. or while supplies last. It will be contact free. Drivers can arrive on campus through the main gate, make a left on Price Drive, pop open their trunks and alumni and staff volunteers will load food boxes, which include meat, dairy and produce.

Additionally, each car will be offered a hot, boxed meal to go by Simon Temple AME Zion Church’s food truck of Fayetteville and a $25 Food Lion gift card. Anyone is eligible to receive the donations.

Livingstone Feeds is made possible by a partnership that Gov. Roy Cooper announced in November between Livingstone College and the N.C. Department of Health and Human Services’ Office of Minority Health and Health Disparities. As part of that, Livingstone is administering $5 million in grants to help the state address food insecurity.

Livingstone College was selected by the state to administer the Hurt & Hunger Initiative through the AME Zion Church to support congregations and nonprofits that are providing meals and food distribution to vulnerable communities, with a special emphasis on children, the elderly and the homeless.

Anthony Davis, senior vice president and chief operating officer of Livingstone College as well as the program’s manager, said more than 600 projects have been funded through the initiative. 

Food Lion took part in the effort by matching a $100,000 purchase of gift cards made by the college, affording Livingstone to distribute a total of $200,000 in gift cards through the AME Zion church. 

“Their matching donation of $100,000 in gift cards has allowed us to expand our reach and increase our impact, and is a testament to their commitment to our communities,” said Jimmy R. Jenkins, Sr., Livingstone College president.

“The AME Zion Church is executing food insecurity projects from the mountains to Eastern North Carolina through food boxes, hot meals and Food Lion gift cards to marginalized populations,” Davis said.

Food insecurity has been exacerbated by the pandemic. Prior to COVID-19, 35 million people were dealing with food insecurity. During the pandemic, that number has increased to about 55 million and 15 million of those are children, Davis said.

At a recent food box giveaway in Salisbury, a family told organizers the food donation was timely because they did not know from where their next meal was coming. At another distribution site out of the county, an elderly woman cried because she was hoping and praying she would make it to the front of the line before the boxes ran out, he recalled.

The food drive is being held days before the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. holiday weekend. King once said, “injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere,” Davis said. “Food insecurity is a social justice challenge of our day.”

“This is a great opportunity for a Historically Black College and University (HBCU) to partner with the faith-based and nonprofit community to serve vulnerable people in vulnerable places. Unfortunately, this pandemic reminds us that there are people in this great state who are invisible, and their voices cannot be heard from the valley of despair,” Davis said. 

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