SCCM: 19% of families in Stanly County experience food insecurity

The “Hunger Monster” is real, and can be found in Stanly County.

At Stanly Community Christian Ministry’s annual assembly, conducted Dec. 19 at the E.E. Waddell Community Center, SCCM development director Ashlyn Barbee illustrated this point using the children’s book “Lulu and the Hunger Monster” by Eric Talkin.

The book’s story is told from the perspective of the central character (Lulu), who relates an account of her family’s battle with the “Hunger Monster;” i.e., the experience of not having access to sufficient food to meet basic needs, also known as “food insecurity.”

“I read this book to a children’s preschool class recently, and it brought tears to my eyes,” said Barbee, who related that 19% of Stanly County families live with food insecurity.

“In the end, the story illustrates that it’s okay to ask for help,” said Barbee.

According to statistics presented during the meeting by Executive Director Heather Kilde, SCCM is a valuable resource in helping local citizens who are dealing with food insecurity.

“Since Jan. 1, at our Assistance Center, we have helped provide food and toiletries to 2,494 households,” she said. “In addition, our mobile pantry has served another 1,533 households, and food pantry operations in East Albemarle (194) and in Norwood (437) account for another 631.

“SCCM has also provided financial assistance with utility bills (387 households), bulk fuel (11), rent/mortgage payments (164) and medicine (37) during the same time period,” added Kilde. “In addition, Community Table operations in Albemarle and Norwood provide daily meals to those in need, with each site distributing over 100 meals per day.”

While contributions from churches, individuals, businesses and civic groups help fund SCCM’s activities, a large portion of the organization’s income is generated by its Clothing Closet operation, headquartered at 1324 E. Main St. in Albemarle.

“If not for the Clothing Closet, we would be operating at a huge deficit,” said Kilde.

While gently-used clothing items have always been accepted at the Clothing Closet, Kilde noted that a new clothing recycling program makes it possible for less-than-pristine items to be collected, reprocessed and re-sold, with proceeds coming back to SCCM.

“Even if you think it’s unwearable, donate it,” she said, adding that “all donations, whether monetary or clothing, stay local.”

According to information provided by SCCM, total contributions translate to a total services value of $1.14 million. This includes Community Table meals ($144,000), Assistance Center food distribution ($717,000), Food Pantry distributions in Norwood and East Albemarle ($48,000), Clothing Closet distributions ($77,000) and Volunteer Hours ($152,000).

In SCCM business, officers for the 2024 year were approved, including president Ron Loflin, vice president Demetria Bennett, secretary Doug Hume and treasurer Paul Hinkle. The organization’s Board of Directors includes (in addition to the officers), Georgette Edgerton and Derrick Adcock (terms expire 2024), David Cochran and Carol Moseley (terms expire 2025), and Bradley Eudy, Britt Burch and Julie Busch (terms expire 2026).

Volunteers are needed at both the Albemarle and Norwood sites, said Kilde, who encouraged anyone interested in volunteering to contact Devonna Morgan at the SCCM headquarters (704-982-7915).

“This is the community’s ministry,” said Kilde. “Our purpose is to help each other.”