New Bern Rotary Resolution: Fed Up with Local Hunger

Laura Johnson and Debbie Taggart

Laura Johnson, New Bern Now’s “Radio Voice” interviewed Debbie Taggart, President of the New Bern Noon Rotary Club which is airing on WNOS Talk Radio 105.9FM and 1450AM. Listen to the interview:

New Bern’s Noon Rotary Club is fed up with hunger in Craven County.  Their New Year’s resolution:  provide 50,000 local meals by the end of February.  To reach this goal, the Club has launched a $12,500 “Fed Up With Hunger” community campaign, bringing local partners and volunteers together to donate 50,000 pre-packaged nutritious meals to Religious Community Services (RCS) for distribution.

Before Hurricane Irene struck, the RCS Food Pantry provided about 90,000 meals a year to local residents in need.  According to Michael McMillan, RCS Executive Director, “Over the last two years, we have seen the requests for food from our food pantry double.  With the limited resources available, we are able to provide a household with canned food for a week, once every four months.  For a household on limited income or where the household income is at or below the poverty level, an unexpected event can create unexpected crises.  A medical emergency can create a choice between medicine or food.  A significant weather change can create a choice between utility costs or food.  RCS’s Food Pantry Program attempts to lighten the impact when an unforeseen crisis occurs.”

To provide these meals, the Noon Rotary Club has partnered with Outreach, Inc., an Iowa-based nonprofit that has supplied over 200 million meals to children and families around the world.  In February, Outreach will deliver enough bulk rice, beans, vegetables, vitamins and minerals to New Bern to package 50,000 individual meals, at a cost of 25 cents a meal.  On February 23rd, more than 150 community volunteers will assemble these meals for delivery to RCS.

The Noon Rotary Club is kicking off the “Fed Up With Hunger” campaign with a $5,000 donation and a number of campaign volunteers.  The club has also set up a website at NewBernFedUpwithHunger.org to raise funding, volunteers and public awareness for this critical local issue.  “According to the most recent information available, over 18,000 Craven County residents don’t have access to sufficient healthy food at some time during the year”, said Noon Rotary Club President Debbie Taggart.  “Over the holidays, there was a great outpouring of community support to meet this need.  Through “Fed Up With Hunger”, we want to build on this momentum and provide additional cost-effective resources to make sure no Craven County child goes to bed hungry.”

New Bern’s Ruby Tuesday Restaurant on Hwy 70 East is offering significant support to “Fed Up With Hunger” through its Community GiveBack program.  Tina Davis, Ruby Tuesday’s manager, has dedicated seven days in January and February where 20% of every purchase will be donated to “Fed Up With Hunger” when visitors present a special GiveBack flyer.  “I’m thrilled we can be part of this program”, said Davis. “I hope a lot of people will also be excited and help support this local effort.”  Ruby Tuesday’s next “Fed Up With Hunger” days will be January 22 & 23, and February 6 & 20.  Customers can find the GiveBack flyers now at newbernfedupwithhunger.org, and at Ruby Tuesday on their “Fed Up With Hunger” days.

“We’re reaching out to individuals, companies and organizations who are also fed up with local hunger”, said Taggart.  “We’re so grateful to Ruby Tuesday for their support.  Over the coming weeks, the ‘Fed Up With Hunger’ campaign will provide additional information and more ways for the community to participate.  Please get involved by visiting our NewBernFedUpwithHunger website or Facebook page”.

For RCS and McMillan, “Fed Up With Hunger” builds on the much-needed community support provided over the holidays.  “The present joint effort of this community to provide 50,000 meals to the hungry will greatly benefit the least of our community.  It will certainly bring smiles to the faces of both those who have given of themselves to create this gift, and to those who have received this gift.  It is a gift of nourishment to the body and to the soul.  On behalf of RCS and those who come through our doors, we thank you.”

Submitted by: Debbie and Rip Taggart, New Bern Fed Up with Hunger

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