Duke police helps those in need

June 16, 2009

Duke departments are collecting nonperishable items through July 31 to help restock dwindling supplies at local branches of the Food Bank of Central and Eastern North Carolina.

Tough economic times are making it harder for families to put food on the table, but summertime also means many children who receive free or reduced meals during the school year will be missing out, said Duke police Maj. Phyllis Cooper, who is helping organize the food drive.

“This is a really good thing Duke can do to be a supportive part of the community,” she said. “These kids are out of school, but hunger doesn’t take a vacation.”

Cooper hopes Duke can contribute at least 800 pounds of food, which is enough for 674 meals. In the first week of the program, which started June 1, Duke Police collected more than 200 pounds.

That sounds promising to Eddie Hull, dean of residence life and executive director of housing services. He plans to donate early and often and even has a donation box by his office.

“Providing food and other necessities to those without, especially given these economic times, is important,” he said. “It's something you just do because it's the right thing to do.”

April Morgan, the outreach coordinator for the Durham branch of the Food Bank, said that donations of food and money have been increasing since the economic downturn started last fall, but there has been a continued increase of need from families throughout the state. She said people don’t often think about donating to food drives during the summer because food drives happen during Thanksgiving or Christmas.

Once food is collected by the Food Bank, local food pantries and non-profit groups can come and collect some of the food, which they distribute to those in need.

“Our shelves usually start to get a little leaner during July and August,” Morgan said. “I receive more phone calls from families who a year ago were living a pretty comfortable life and now are waking up to the fact that they have to rely on the help of others to put food on the table.”

For information about the food drive, contact Maj. Phyllis Cooper at (919) 684-3350.