Local food bank in need of help as volunteer numbers drop and demand soars

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Posted at 4:29 PM, Apr 09, 2021
and last updated 2021-04-13 09:20:03-04

ELIZABETH CITY, N.C. -- Residents in 15 counties in northeast North Carolina are relying on the Food Bank of the Albemarle more than ever.

"With a 53 percent increase in distribution, we've just not had the volunteer help coming in,” Brian Gray, the food bank’s Communications Director and manager of volunteers told News 3.

Since September, Gray said the number of volunteers has dropped by 60 percent.

"With all the changes that COVID has brought to our work lives and home lives,” Gray explained, “it's been difficult for people to even come out."

They have counted on National Guard soldiers to volunteer, but they have been reassigned to other missions throughout North Carolina. Gray added that concerns surrounding the pandemic have contributed to that drop, and that is leaving remaining volunteers strained.

"Having someone that gives their all, all the time,” Gray said, “it can be a hardship on them as well, and you can experience burnout."

That is why the Food Bank of the Albemarle needs extra hands. Gray said the food bank had about 10,000 volunteers before the pandemic.

"It's a great opportunity to give back in your community,” Gray said.

Some of the jobs the volunteers will do include sorting through boxes and packing boxes. There are other kinds of jobs volunteers can do.

"We need people that can help with office filing tasks, some general light cleaning - things like that,” Gray added.

The facility expects volunteers to follow COVID-19 protocols such as wearing face masks and social distancing.

"It's a fulfilling thing to give back in your community if you're concerned about hunger,” Gray said.

Related: Food banks see dip in donations, local gardens jump in to help with fresh produce

Gray said anyone interested in volunteering can give his office a call at 252-335-4035, ext. 113. You can also send an email to

Hours and days and flexible. Schedules and jobs will be discussed. Volunteers of all ages from the local community and Hampton Roads are welcomed, Gray said.

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