Coronavirus NC: Elevation Church teams with Food Bank to create 17,000 meals

RALEIGH, N.C. (WTVD) -- The Food Bank of Central and Eastern North Carolina is teaming with Elevation Church turning 20,000 pounds of potatoes into family sized bags -- creating about 17,000 meals for those in need.

Elevation Church has been at the Food Bank of Central and Eastern North Carolina every day for the past four weeks during the COVID-19 pandemic.

"The people that volunteer at Elevation Church, they want to give back," said Preston Stack, campus pastor at Elevation Church in Raleigh. "It wasn't something that we forced them to, it wasn't something that we had to pull their teeth. They've been asking us what are the needs, how can we get out and serve?"

The Food Bank welcomes the support.

"It's great to have groups like this, like Elevation who can come in, they bring willing, healthy volunteering and they're totally fine with the social distancing," said Jennifer Caslin, marketing and project manager at the Food Bank of Central and Eastern North Carolina. "It's great to have groups like this support us and they've donated $20,000, which is awesome."

The Food Bank and Elevation Church teamed for a social-distancing volunteer event, keeping just two volunteers per pallet of potatoes.

"Certainly, we are working harder, working safe, coming up with new ways to stay safe and get more food out every day," Caslin said. "We are here for the long haul, and we're always going to be here for the long haul when anything like this happens."

It's not the first time Elevation has stepped up to help feed the community.

"We've been working with them for over six years so when this opportunity came with the crisis, we knew that the first people we wanted to go to was the Food Bank," Stack said. "We knew that one of the needs was going to be feeding people and that people were going to need resources to groceries and food."

Because of COVID-19 and social distancing, the Food Bank has had to cut back the number of volunteers it has had but Caslin said it is dedicated to being there and making sure people get fed.

"It's an unprecedented time," she added. "We've never had, nobody's ever had to deal with anything like this. Typically, when we have a disaster it's something like a hurricane and we can call in reinforcements from the area that hasn't been affected but there is no area that's not been affected by this."
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