RALEIGH, N.C. (WTVD) -- As the Food Bank of Central and Eastern North Carolina (FBCENC) celebrates its 40th anniversary in operation in 2020, it is also experiencing an unprecedented need and challenges amid the pandemic.
"We are used to doing disaster relief work, but COVID-19 is unlike anything anybody's ever dealt with, really. I think it forces us to be very flexible," said Jennifer Caslan, FBCENC marketing and project manager.
"According to Feed America, in our service area, the food insecurity has increased by about 38% so we've got close to 760,000 people who could be dealing with food insecurity due to the pandemic," Caslan added.
The topic of pandemic response is one of many covered in-depth in the six-part FBCENC Path To Ending Hunger podcast released in September.
"We just wanted to spread the word and make people aware of our organization in a different way," Caslan said. "And podcasts are very popular right now. And, we had a partner work with us on it, and we thought why not do a series of episodes that give people an idea of how the food bank works and dispel some misconceptions about food banks," she added.
ABC11 anchors Tisha Powell and Amber Rupinta each host three episodes.
"We talk about disaster relief which is a huge part of what we do," Caslan said. "We also talk about our partner agencies; without our partner agencies -- we have 900 partner agencies in our 34 county service area -- that wouldn't make it to the person who is in need.
"We talk about building solutions and the solutions we are building to end hunger. We're grateful to have a special message in each episode from Chef Vivian Howard," she added.
Listen on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Google Podcasts, Stitcher, and TuneIn. You can also view the podcasts on the FBCENC YouTube Channel or visit foodbankcenc.org/podcast to learn more.