Written by Casey Collins

Join FLS in recognizing the success of the 2021 North Carolina Legal Feeding Frenzy, an annual food drive and fundraising competition to address food insecurity and hunger in NC.  In just one month, NC law firms, law schools, organizations, and individuals raised nearly $165,000 to support Feeding The Carolinas’ Food Banks. Thank you to everyone who donated through the Duke University School of Law link. Two FLS Board members, Kristen Renberg and Alex Obiol, spearheaded Duke Law’s fundraising efforts and raised $800 in this year’s fund drive (its largest contribution to date)!

Legal Feeding Frenzy Overview 

Held annually in March, the NC Legal Feeding Frenzy is a joint program of the NCBA Young Lawyers Division and Feeding the Carolinas food banks. It aims to fight hunger across North Carolina by uniting the legal community in support of local food banks. Food banks rely on volunteer labor and donations, but distribution costs remain and additional food must be purchased. A fundraiser at heart, the Legal Feeding Frenzy strives to generate this financial support while raising awareness of food insecurity across North Carolina.

COVID, Hunger, and Food Banks

Support for local food banks is more important than ever. COVID-19 struck the state with a double-edged sword, both deepening food insecurity and disrupting the operations food banks generally offer to ameliorate hunger.

The pandemic has exacerbated economic harms and destabilized access to basic resources across the state of North Carolina. Recent estimates suggest that one in five North Carolinians are now food insecure. The figure is even worse for children: nearly 1 in 4 young people don’t have enough to eat. Simultaneously, unemployment applications rose substantially through 2020.

Additionally, food banks have seen a drop in donations, which means food has to be purchased; the average food bank now spends nearly 12x more on monthly food purchases than Pre-Covid (roughly $1 million per month, now). The expenses mount as food moves into distribution phases, since food banks have lost over 50% of their volunteer workforce since the pandemic broke.  Complicating matters further, nearly 40% of partner agencies shut down during the pandemic.  In effect, food banks lost hundreds of distribution and food pick-up centers, making it harder for people in need to access food.

Recap: 2021 Legal Feeding Frenzy

Thus the 2021 Legal Feeding Frenzy came at a critical time, nearly one year into the COVID-19 pandemic. To be sure, there are so many needs still unmet, and this fundraiser will offer a boost not a solution. Still, the success of this year’s fundraiser was hardly preordained. Covid-19 spawned novel — at times  existential — crises for both industries and individuals statewide.

Yet the NC legal community adapted, raising more than ever before. This year’s $165,00 in fundraising for food banks marks a 10 percent increase from March 2020’s $151,000. Amidst the isolation and darkness wrought by a global pandemic, the 2021 Legal Feeding Frenzy shines a light on the value of collaboration and local volunteer efforts. FLS was thrilled to be a part of this effort and we are looking forward to participating next year!

About the Food Bank

40 years ago, The Food Bank of Central & Eastern North Carolina (Food Bank) has a bold mission: empower local communities to overcome hunger and create an environment where all North Carolinians can thrive.  Providing food and educational resources to 34 NC counties, the Food Bank has developed a network of more than 900 partner agencies—from soup kitchens to food pantries to shelters. The collaboration makes an impact. The total food distributed by the Food Bank is the highest of any food bank in North Carolina; nationally, it ranks in the top 15 of over 200 food banks!

More information