Published November 15, 2021
Food insecurity is a growing problem in Western North Carolina. The North Carolina Justice Center reports that in NC people in approximately 590,000 households do not have enough food and that the state has the country’s 10th highest rate of food insecurity. Located in Sylva, United Christian Ministries of Jackson County works hard to lower these numbers.
The organization ministers to food insecurity needs in Jackson County by hosting a food pantry and offering financial assistance. In 2015, they distributed 10,500 bags of food, in 2019 around 13,000, but in 2020 that number jumped to 20,000. The pantry provides shelf-stable food such as pasta, oatmeal and baby food. They also get regular donations from grocery stores of perishables that include veggies, bakery items and meats.
Just recently with a matched grant from Dogwood, they were able to expand their facilities by adding additional space to store food with adequate flooring to support large refrigerators and freezers. They also upgraded by adding a loading dock. The addition of the dock has already offered time savings for the organization as they no longer have to send out multiple, smaller vehicles to do food pickups. Deliveries can come to them and be unloaded directly to pantry shelves.
In addition to helping county residents with food insecurity, the organization provides financial assistance to those in need. They are flexible and able to provide assistance in creative ways such as helping with housing expenses, utility bills, medical copays and transportation.
United Christian Ministries has a cadre of dedicated volunteers who help with greeting clients, assisting those in need, answering phones and running errands.
“The Dogwood grant changed our world. It’s been amazing.”
Area Served: Jackson County
Dogwood Partner in: Health & Wellness
Dogwood Funding: $63,000 total