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Food Lion helps feed hungry with donation to food pantry

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Food Lion employees (l-r) Kay Belton, Alton Weaver and Kyle Barker unpack food their company was donating to Albemarle Food Pantry as part of a restocking effort in the Food Bank of the Albemarle warehouse in Elizabeth City, Thursday. Food Lion donated enough food to produce 30,000 meals for the region's hungry, Food Bank officials said.

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By William F. West
Staff Writer

Friday, May 4, 2018

A group of eight Food Lion employees donated their time to Albemarle Food Pantry on Thursday, unpacking and shelving groceries their company donated to the regional agency as part of a warehouse restocking effort.

The Salisbury-based supermarket chain’s donation to the food pantry, part of the 15-county Food Bank of the Albemarle’s distribution network, was enough food to produce 30,000 meals for the region’s hungry, food bank officials said.

Food Lion’s donation to Albemarle Food Pantry was held Thursday in advance of the company’s plans next Wednesday to open a new Food Lion store in Elizabeth City at the site of what until recently was a Farm Fresh supermarket.

All but one of those who participated in Thursday’s restocking effort plan to work at the new Food Lion store.

The one who won’t, Alton Weaver, has managed the Edenton Food Lion for 2½ years and been with the company for 16 years.

Weaver said it’s disheartening to think about how many people are hungry in the region. But he’s also proud that Food Lion employees are helping provide them a helping hand.

"It makes me sad knowing there's people out there that are needy — and makes me extremely happy that we're doing our part to help support them through their hard times," he said.

Food Lion employee Kay Belton said participating in the restocking effort also made her feel good.

"It's overwhelming, it really is, to know that there's that many people out there that aren't eating and that Food Lion donates so much," Belton said.

Belton worked as the delicatessen manager at the former Farm Fresh. She will continue in that position at the new Food Lion.

Richard Culpepper, another former Farm Fresh employee who’ll continue in his role as meat market manager at the new Food Lion, said he, too, was proud to participate in the food pantry restocking effort. 

"We're reaching (out) to people who are in need — and that's what's very important from a personal standpoint and a business standpoint," he said.

Food Bank of the Albemarle Executive Director Liz Reasoner said the food donated by Food Lion would have immediate impact.

“It will probably go out to 200 households on Friday," she said.

Reasoner said Albemarle Food Pantry's distribution network includes churches and faith-based organizations, as well as nonprofit agencies who operate food pantry programs, soup kitchens and child care programs.

Additionally, she noted Food Lion, as a retail store donation partner, already is a premier sponsor of Food Bank of the Albemarle.

Food Lion officials said the company is committed to providing 500 million meals to needy persons and families by the end of 2020.

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