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Alamance County Food Bank Loaves & Fishes Abruptly Shuts Down

11:18 PM, Aug 29, 2013   |    comments
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Burlington, NC -- One of the Triad's largest food banks has shut its doors without much of an explanation.

Loaves and Fishes announced Wednesday through its partners at United Way they would close September 30th.

The note did not explain why, it just said the organization feels it has served the community well for almost 15 years and that its mission has been fulfilled.

Loaves and Fishes feeds about 7,000 people each month; among them, Lynda Hudgins and her family.

"Yesterday, I was told all you had to do was drive up, show them your driver's license and they filled your car up. So, they gave everybody too much, and didn't leave anything for today," Hudgins said.

She showed up to the food bank with her family but was greeted with doors covered in newspaper and a note saying: "Loaves and Fishes will no longer be distributing food. Please call 211 for other food agencies."

WFMY News 2 also found a volunteer on the property who says the agency hadn't told him it was shutting down so suddenly.

"I thought I'd stop by and see some of my friends that had been doing volunteer work with, obviously there was no one here," Steve Barker said. "I had heard that there was some financial problems but I didn't realize it was to [this] degree."
Barker says he has volunteered with the group for more than 2 years.

Calls to the organization roll over into a voicemail. News 2 was not able to reach Brenda Allen, the director, for a comment.
Loaves and Fishes has a satellite campus in Whitsett through the Mt. Hope Church.

Administrators say they've been working with the organization for years: collecting donation and packaging them for drop-off. As of Thursday afternoon, they said they hadn't heard from Allen or gotten an explanation other than the note sent out on Wednesday.

One employee said she was "blown away" by the news.
Heidi Norwick, the vice president of United Way of Alamance County says losing Loaves and Fishes will greatly impact the community.

She explained, there's a huge need for the organization.
Norwick says some of the smaller agencies are planning an emergency meeting Friday morning to figure out how to fill the void.

In the meantime, here's what WFMY News 2 found out through the Secretary of State's office:
Last month, Loaves and Fishes was denied a Charitable Solicitation License because it improperly filled out its IRS tax form.

Another document shows, the organization has since sent in the right one and its status is active.

Also, Loaves and Fishes reported making $9.4 million in contributions and gifts in 2012.

Total expenses were $9.3 million, according to the document.
Brenda and Larry Allen, the treasurer, took home more than $130,000 in compensation last year.

It's not clear if the organization had other liabilities or financial problems that might have led to the seemingly sudden decision.


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