Eagle’s Wings anticipates spike in new clients, donations needed

Published 3:51 pm Wednesday, April 15, 2020

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As more Americans face unemployment nationwide, food banks and food pantries throughout the country are experiencing an unprecedented demand for services, as well as shortages of food to meet those needs.

While Eagle’s Wings Executive Director Ann-Marie Montague says her organization hasn’t yet experienced shortages like those at other pantries across the country, she says the agency is likely to see an increase in new clients affected by layoffs and business closures.

“We have not seen a tremendous spike in new clients due to the coronavirus,” Montague said. “However, we are anticipating that within the next few weeks, we will be seeing a significant spike. That’s why it’s important that people continue to donate, so that going forward, we’re still able to continue taking care of not just our regular clients, but the clients that have been affected by layoffs, furloughs and job losses.”

Eagle’s Wings has continued to operate its weekly distributions in Washington and at satellite sites on the south side of the Pamlico River. Food deliveries continue to flow from the Food Bank of the Albemarle, which provides food to local pantries in a 15-county service area.

“We are fine, but I’m hearing reports about some food banks in other areas, like Onslow County, that are running short,” Montague said. “I’m on weekly conference calls with the Food Bank of the Albemarle, and they sent us a really great order at the beginning of the month.”

Both Eagle’s Wings and the regional Food Bank of the Albemarle are in need of donations to keep the supply of food strong for those in need.

“Right now, our region, state and nation are experiencing a health crisis that is unprecedented,” wrote Food Bank of the Albemarle Executive Director Liz Reasoner in a recent press release. “Thousands of people right here in northeastern North Carolina are faced with reduced hours and income, and even job loss. The Food Bank is taking all necessary steps to ensure we continue serving our neighbors with nutritious food now and after this health and financial crisis has ended.”

On a national scale, pantries nationwide face a growing demand for services, while food is being thrown away at many farms across the country.

That’s according to a recent letter to the U.S. Department of Agriculture from the American Farm Bureau Federation and Feeding America, the nation’s largest advocacy groups representing farmers and food banks across the United States.

“Paradoxically, we are seeing a simultaneous surge in demand at a moment when many farmers are being told there is an oversupply of their product,” the letter read. “The unfortunate consequences include public panic about an adequate food supply and plunging prices for farm produce.”

Together, the two groups have requested the USDA ease regulations and allow farmers to work directly with food pantries through a voucher program, producing “a win for food banks and a win for farmers.”

For more information on Eagle’s Wings and Food Bank of the Albemarle, or to donate, visit www.eagles-wings.org or afoodbank.org.