Nonprofit Kinston Teens hold free food distribution in response to COVID-19

Published: May. 2, 2020 at 8:34 AM EDT
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The organization Kinston Teens partnered with the City of Kinston to host a free drive-thru food distribution event on Saturday as a relief effort in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

"We're just trying to keep the line flowing. We have food to feed thousands of families, so were going to make sure those thousands of families get fed," said Chris Suggs, Founder and CEO of Kinston Teens.

Cars were backed up for nearly a quarter-mile at the Kinston Community Center as meals were packaged and boxed.

"Our goal is just to feed as many people as possible because we realize a lot of people are struggling already before the crisis even hit, and this situation has made it worse for a lot of people. We just want to help out however we can," Suggs added.

Onslow County-based disaster relief ministry Mount Carmel H.E.L.P.S. sponsored the event.

Mount Carmel H.E.L.P.S. is a partner of the Food Bank of Central & Eastern North Carolina, which provided the food that was be distributed.

Kinston based Groundbreakers International Ministries and Hands for Humanity Community Development are providing volunteer support.

Local first responders were there to lend a helping hand as well.

"It's not about anything other than helping others. Whether that's in a time of an emergency due to a fire, whether it's a vehicle accident or whether it's a time where people are not working and need food," said Kinston Fire Chief Damien Locklear.

In the interest of safety and public health, visitors were asked to open their vehicle's trunk as they arrived. Volunteers then placed a box of food in the trunk.

Healthcare professionals from the Old North State Medical Foundation were on site to provide COVID-19 screenings to volunteers and any interested community members.

Food boxes include non-perishable items, canned goods, milk, fresh produce, and more.

And with every box of food, came a little hope as well.

"Just keep on looking up. God is going to fix this thing and after a while it's going to blow away and everything's going to be back to normal," says Dr. Linda Gary, the Founder of Mount Carmel H.E.L.P.S.

Kinston Teens is a nonprofit youth-led organization that was founded in October 2014 with a mission of empowering young people through service, leadership, and civic engagement.