Eagle’s Wings seeks donations during late summer slump

Published 7:07 pm Thursday, August 29, 2019

During the holiday season, the spirit of giving permeates the community and local food pantries benefit from generous donations. In the closing weeks of summer, however, shelves are sparse at Eagle’s Wings Food Pantry, and the local nonprofit is seeking the public’s help to feed those in need.

“This is our slow period of time for both food donations and monetary donations,” said Eagle’s Wings Executive Director Ann-Marie Montague. “Of course, that’s going to pick up at the end of October through the end of December. We see an increase in food and monetary donations because people think about food around the holidays. But what needs to be emphasized is that people need to eat every day, not just at the holiday time.”

Adding to the crunch for Eagle’s Wings is a shortage at the Food Bank of the Albemarle, the regional food bank for northeastern North Carolina. Usually, Eagle’s Wings is able to purchase food from that organization at a bulk rate of 19 cents per pound. But amidst the regional shortage, the local pantry is forced to buy from retailers, where that same pound of food might cost $1.

“I’m paying five times as much locally when I have to outsource it from the food bank,” Montague said. “That, of course, depletes a lot of the financial reserves over a long period of time.”

As to ways to help, it can be as simple as setting up a box at work, church or in the neighborhood. While all nutritious items are welcome for donation, Eagle’s Wings specifically has a need for the following:

  • Sugar-free cereal
  • Non-flavored oatmeal
  • Canned tomato items
  • Canned fruit packed in juices or water
  • Canned vegetables (preferably no salt added)
  • Sugar-free Jello or pudding
  • Sugar substitutes

Historically, Montague says the community has risen to the occasion for Eagle’s Wings, and there are plenty of ways to help. From a boy named Ed King at First United Methodist Church who asks for donations instead of birthday presents, to a couple who asked for the same for their wedding gifts, there are plenty of creative ways to help feed those in need.

As for the 450 families who benefit from Eagle’s Wings services each month, Montague says these are truly people in need. Thirty percent of clients are children; 20% are senior citizens and another 20% are disabled. Each time clients visit, they go through an interview process to determine their income and needs. All are below 200% of the poverty line, while many fall at or below 130% of the poverty line — $32,630 annually for a family of four.

“We are serving the poorest of the poor,” Montague said.

Donations of food can be dropped off at Eagle’s Wings between 9 a.m. and 1 p.m., Mondays through Fridays. Financial donations are also welcome. To learn more about the organization or to donate online, visit www.eagles-wings.org.