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A New Home for Pamlico County Fishes and Loaves
PCFLO now has their own space
March 8, 2021

n Straight Road, just before the turn off to the Oriental Recreation Park and Fire Station 19, are two metal buildings.

One is Inner Banks Sail & Canvas. The other has been both an engineering lab and a coffee roastery. By the end of March, it will be the new home and distribution point for Pamlico County Fishes and Loaves Outreach, the non-profit Pamlico County Food Pantry.

Commonly known as PCFLO, Pamlico County Fishes and Loaves Outreach has operated out of a small room at St. Peter’s Catholic Church for years. As demand for services grew, so did the need for space. They outgrew the space long ago, but only recently found the right place to land.

Exterior view of a metal building with double entry doors and a small window on either side of the entry way. A blue awning stretches over the windows and doors. The parking lot is gravel and tall oak and pine trees grow on the building's right side.
The new PCFLO building on Straight Rd.

The metal building at 108 Straight Road is perfect for their purpose, says Eileen Miles, PCFLO board member. Already an open commercial space, there is little need for renovation or upgrades.

PCFLO History
In 2007, PCFLO began by serving 7 families. They now serve hundreds and need the space to do so effectively.

Though housed in a church for most of its existence, PCFLO is a county organization – not a religious one. They receive support and donations from area churches, the Oriental Rotary Club, local grocery stores, and TEFAP (the Temporary Emergency Food Assistance Program).

A large box truck is backed up to the church side entrance. A pallet of sodas and a pallet of bagged sweet potatoes sits nearby.
The Food Bank of Central and Eastern North Carolina delivers food to PCFLO once a month. Over 20 volunteers sort, repackage, and distribute the food to about 100 families on the first Wednesday of the month.

While functioning primarily as a food pantry, PCFLO’s operations have several components: the food pantry, the mobile food truck, and emergency situations.

The Food Pantry
The food pantry operates seven times a month – three Tuesdays and Thursdays, and one Friday night. Over those seven distributions, approximately 660 families and 2500 individuals in Pamlico County receive canned and packaged foods, perishables, and personal hygiene products.

Clients of the food pantry must be qualified and referred by the Division of Social Services (DSS) or a local church. However, if someone has an emergency, they will not be turned away. Clients must fill out an application and go through the qualification process to become a repeat client.

Four volunteers, older men and women, line up in the parking lot with wheelbarrows full of food. Another volunteer stands near a pallet full of soda, waiting to unload these to the waiting vehicles.
Volunteers with wheelbarrows line up to deliver the once a month donation from the Mobile Food Truck.
The Mobile Food Truck
The first Wednesday of the month is the Mobile Food Truck distribution; a once monthly visit from the Food Bank of Central and Eastern North Carolina. FBCENC drops off between one and three tons of food. Around 20 volunteers are needed to unload, repackage, and distribute the food. Approximately 100 families receive food through this service. The mobile food truck is available to any Pamlico County resident who can show proof of residency.

(This distribution will still take place at St. Peter the Fisherman Catholic Church on White Farm Rd.)

Emergency Needs
Averaging about 40 cases a month are the emergency needs cases. Twice a week, PCFLO assists referred families and individuals who are referred with immediate needs. For those who find themselves unable to pay rent or electric, PCFLO also has access to an emergency assistance fund run through the Catholic Church. Clients can apply for and receive help from this service once per year.

Inside the food pantry are three upright refrigerators: large, medium, and small. One deep freezer sits in the middle of the room, another against the wall. Shelves with boxes of canned goods line the wall. There isn't much space to move around in the pantry.
The small pantry at St. Peter the Fisherman. As the need for food expands, so does the need for space to hold it all.

Their clients, says Miles, are the elderly, the disabled, those out of work or furloughed, and the working poor. According to census.gov, that is approximately 15.9% of Pamlico County residents.

To continue to provide for an increasingly poor population, the PCFLO Board has signed a contract to purchase the former roastery. They’ve received a $50,000 donation from their former home, St. Peter the Fisherman Catholic Church. It’s not enough to fully cover the costs and the board is asking for the community’s help.

There are several ways to donate:
Send a check payable to PCFLO, PO Box 771, Oriental, NC 28571
Volunteer your time to help pick-up, sort, package, and deliver food to families at the new building on Straight Rd.
Donate food and/or hygiene products to PCFLO any Tuesday or Thursday at 108 Straight Road.

PCFLO expects to begin serving from their new location at 108 Straight Road by April 1, 2021. For questions about donations, the new building, volunteering or anything else, call 252-249-3687.

Posted Monday March 8, 2021 by Allison DeWeese

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