RELIEF IN NORTH CAROLINA

The impact of Samaritan’s Feet partnering with the North Carolina Community Action Association (NCCAA) to serve thousands of families across the state was vast and wide. And, it was just enough relief for thousands of families in North Carolina to take one more step.

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The gym was filled with children running around and eager parents walking up to each table. Music played loudly on the sound system with giveaway announcements breaking the tunes every so often. It was a resource fair in Statesville, North Carolina with household cleaning items, food, medical assistance, and lots of new sneakers available to anyone who arrived.

“This event means a helping hand in some tough times. It represents community building. It represents love, caring, partnership, collaboration, support, and encouragement for families. And relief,” said Bryan Duncan, Executive Director, I-CARE Incorporated, Statesville.

This event was one of many that took place in partnership with the North Carolina Community Action Association (NCCAA) and 13 local agencies across the state. From the mountains of western North Carolina to the beaches of eastern North Carolina, over 25,000 children, adults, and seniors received new shoes through these events.

“We understand that COVID-19 is still prevalent in all of our communities and we want to make sure that as we move from pandemic to progress that we still meet the needs of those that are in these counties we serve,” said Dr. Landon Mason, Executive Director of Economic Improvement Council, Edenton.

Not unlike other states, the poverty rate in North Carolina increased drastically since COVID-19 causing families and communities to still feel the impact of that. To help support families with their increasing and ongoing needs, events were held in some of the more impoverished areas of the state like Lumberton in Robeson County, which has one of the higher poverty rates of the state at 27.1%, and Enfield in Halifax County, which has a poverty rate of 25.6% (American Community Survey, 2022).

“We’re helping families impacted by the pandemic. Families are coming through and getting much needed products. We’re giving out gas cards, fresh fruits, back to school supplies, hand sanitizers, baby products, and not to mention, nearly 30,000 pairs of shoes with Samaritan’s Feet. You name it, we’re excited about it,” said Sharon Goodson, Executive Director, NCCAA.

At a NCCAA event in Charlotte, a mom was seen jumping up and down after seeing the shoes her child would be getting saying, “I am so happy.” A grandma spoke to a volunteer about how times were very tough for her right now. Then she smiled big as she got a new pair of shoes for her grandson, and also for herself saying she couldn’t remember the last time she got a new pair of shoes for herself.

“Today means a lot to our students because most of them have one pair of shoes at the beginning of the school year and that’s all they are going to get. So having another pair of shoes is going to be very beneficial for them. To see their smiles as they get their new shoes and walk out the door is all worth it,” said Cynthia Handog, Facilitator, MTSS (Multi-Tiered System of Support), Bruns Academy, Charlotte.

A little bit can certainly go a long way, especially for families who are still feeling the effects of COVID-19.

“This opportunity for families to get supplies, it provides a little bit of relief. It’s not eternal, but it is some relief. It’s temporary, but it may be just enough to get someone off the edge financially, it may show just enough encouragement to someone to take another step towards self sufficiency, it may be just enough love to cause someone to stay on the right path, it may be just enough hope to cause someone not to cry today when they cried all night long, it may be just enough relief to put a meal on someone’s table tonight,” said Duncan.

Watch a Video

Check out this video to see one of the first distributions with NCCAA in North Carolina.