Giving the Gift of Nourishment

A helping hand from area nonprofits

BY Peter Viele

Bread for Life Senior Pantry_DSC9528

With modified procedures, Bread for Life Senior Pantry and other area nonprofits and churches are still giving the gift of nourishment to Wilmington’s hungry during the coronavirus pandemic.

All have adopted safety standards using drive-up distribution.

“We are continuing food distribution using every safety measure suggested by the N.C. Food Bank on a drive-through basis, taking food to their cars,” says pantry co-director Sue Kovaleski.

Wilmington’s Bread for Life Senior Pantry was born in 2006, when Claudette Fiskin saw a need arising among seniors living on a fixed retirement income who often were faced with the scary choice between paying for their life-saving medicine and bills or groceries for the week. She founded the gleaning ministry with the help of St. Mark Catholic Church.

Bread for Life evolved to become an independent, 501(c)(3) nonprofit in 2018, and now serves over 250 low-income seniors through an entirely volunteer team of about 100. As partners with the Food Pantry of North Carolina, Bread for Life helps seniors age 62 and above by providing much-needed supplemental food and supplies for free.

“We have grants and we work with the N.C. Food Bank,” says Senior Vice President Ann Tremblay. “Walmart and Food Lion have been exceedingly generous as well. But we also have to watch our pennies because we still have to buy food to help provide for these needs. We work on a very slim budget.For 2020, we have a proposed budget of $37,685.”

There are an estimated 3,500 low-income seniors in New Hanover County.

“Seniors worked all their lives and now they don’t have what they thought they would have at this stage,” Tremblay says. “They’re now also in deteriorating health or maybe need surgeries. Everything is more expensive than it was in, say, 1970 and food is the last option they choose over these more pressing expenses. This ministry outgrew itself into a nonprofit because there were so many hungry seniors in this position.”

A list of a portion of the organizations distributing food as of March 18, 2020.

The Cape Fear Food Council is the New Hanover County hub for distribution in response to Covid-19.

New Hanover County

Nourish NC

Drive-through food box of nonperishables/meat/bread/produce for 1,300 current service recipients plus others. Delivering take-and-bake family style meals (contracted with Pine Valley Market) and brown bag lunches daily to the Creekwood neighborhood.

Latino Alliance

Delivering boxes of non-perishable food to Latinx families.

Catholic Charities

Closing all walk-in hours. Curbside food pantry by appointment only on Wednesdays from 2-4 p.m. and Fridays from 9:30-11:30 a.m. Individuals and families can call 910-251-8130 to make an appointment.

Hawk’s Harvest (UNCW Food Pantry)

Open by appointment, 910-792-0507.

Senior Resource Center

Drive-through lunch for customers who participate in congregate meal program and/or are 60-plus. Registered congregate meal participants are encouraged to pick up a carryout lunch Monday-Friday, 11 a.m. – 1 p.m. at the Center located at 2222 S. College Road or Monday-Wednesday, 12-12:30 p.m. at the Castle Hayne location at 4544 Parmele Road. Participants are asked to call one day prior to reserve a meal at 910-798-6420. Home delivered meals program for registered homebound participants is still in operation.

Good Shepherd Center

Dining room closed to the public. Serving free to-go lunches Monday-Friday, 11 a.m.-noon.

Vigilant Hope

Serving a bagged breakfast at Lake Forest Baptist Church, 1626 Lake Branch Drive, Mondays at 8:30 a.m. and Saturdays at 9 a.m., and a bagged dinner at the Lord’s Church at the corner of 5th and Greenfield Thursdays at 6:15 p.m.

Global River Church

Depending on available supply hosting drive-up food pick up daily from 11 a.m.-1 p.m. at 4702 S. College Road. Call 910-392-2899.

First Fruit Ministry

Drive-up pantry hours with pre-made boxes of food Tuesdays and Saturdays 11 a.m.-2 p.m. and Wednesdays 10 a.m. – 2 p.m. at 2750 Vance Street.

Brunswick County

Soup Kitchen

Drive-through food pick up at Camp United Methodist Church in Shallotte from 4:30-6:30 p.m.

Brunswick Family Assistance

Leland and Shallotte by appointment. Call 910-754-4766.

The Lord’s Food Pantry

Open to all Brunswick County residents Saturdays from 10 a.m.-noon at Camp United Methodist Church, 4807 Main Street in Shallotte.

Brunswick County Public Health Call Line

Available Monday-Friday, 9 a.m.-5 p.m. 910-253-2339

Brunswick County Public Health Information

via Email: [email protected]

Brunswick County COVID-19 Nutrition Resources

The Food Bank of Central & Eastern NC website has a searchable database that shows all Food Bank partners that are providing a food pantry, hot meals, shelter meals, etc. Changes in dates and times that these agencies are open and serving is being updated in real time.Visit: