We've reported before about the efforts of Lincoln County United Way and its Executive Director, Kathy Vinzant, to mitigate the shortage in food supply for many in Lincoln County during the COVID-19 pandemic. Vinzant serves as the State Coordinator for Food Security in Lincoln County. She has spent much of her time the last few months working with the Lincoln County Schools, churches, United Way partner agencies and others in trying to make sure that the pandemic doesn't increase food insecurity, which for many was a problem even before COVID-19.
Vinzant told us just over a month ago: "Early on, when we first learned of COVID-19, there were many people who wanted to help with the food distribution. This was not an easy task. Between Lincoln County Schools, churches, businesses and individuals, it didn't take long to know that our community cares and our first priority was to feed our children and families.
"Among the many contributions that were made--many unsolicited:
- Food for 450 families from Christian Ministries picked up by Lincoln County Schools
- 300 lbs. of potatoes, plus strawberries and tomatoes donated by Burton Farms
- West Port Baptist Church--400 Hot Dog plates I delivered to Dr. Beam, which he distributed to Lincolnton High and Battleground schools
- Over 100 masks donated and delivered to community partners from David Memorial Baptist Church
- Howard Construction--$500 for the Lincoln County Schools Lincoln Feeds program
- Times Oil-Lincolnton--$6,000
- Mr. and Mrs. Pryzgocki--$500
- Mr. and Mrs. Haynes--$1,000
- Foundation For Healthy Carolinas--$25,000
- Charlie Sigmon--$1,200
- West Optimists--$100
"We also received an anonymous donation of $10,000 and the United Way kicked in $50,000.
"In addition, Ross Bulla organized a food drive and appreciation day for law enforcement officers.
"Heather and Chris Rhyne adopted a woman in Denver--checking in to make sure she had food and her other needs were bing met.
"Jim Studdard, the new Lincolnton-Lincoln County Chamber of Commerce President, asked if there was anything he and his daughte--home from colleg--could do for United Way. Timing couldn't have been more perfect. Five minutes prior to his call, Burton Farms called. Jim and his daughter headed to Conover to pick up 50 lbs. of strawberries donated by Burton Farms.
"There are many stories I can't share because of the HIPAA law, but when there has been a need, someone has stepped up to fill it...from porch drops for Covid Positive Families who need to remain under quarantine for 14 days to food deliveries for other families including babies needing formula."
The generosity and caring by Lincoln County individuals, churches and businesses has also been true in Catawba County.
Eastern Catawba Christian Ministry (ECCCM), a Catawba County United Way partner agency, provides assistance with mortgage/rent payments, utility bills, hunger relief, transportation, and financial coaching.
Recently, the Catawba County United Way sponsored a community-wide food drive to assist crisis agencies that are feeding the community. ECCCM received nearly 1,000 pounds of very useful food for this purpose. According to Rev. Robert C. Silber, Executive Director, “The impact of COVID-19 on our community has been tremendous. I am continually grateful and in awe of a generous community who gives so much of themselves for others. This food will end up on the tables of those in need.
"Throughout this pandemic, Catawba County United Way has coordinated efforts to bring the resources of the community together for the benefit of all. ECCCM serves the community through multiple hunger prevention programs, including the Student Hunger Prevention Program that provides food to all school systems in Catawba County. ECCCM continues to provide “a hand up, not a hand out” to those in need in eastern Catawba County as we have since 1969, never turning away a qualifying client."
The Lincoln Herald extends a sincere 'thank you' to all those who have helped people avoid hunger during the pandemic and to the United Way programs of both Lincoln and Catawba counties. Next time someone asks why you should contribute to your local United Way, remind them of this.