RALEIGH – Beginning Monday, October 4th, the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services’ COVID-19 Support Services Program, along with the Food Bank of Central & Eastern North Carolina will provide food assistance to North Carolinians in 34 counties who face food insecurity resulting from the need to isolate or quarantine due to COVID-19. Additionally, NCDHHS is expanding program eligibility to North Carolinians in those counties who are at high risk for severe illness due to COVID-19, as defined by the CDC.
“Providing support services allowed thousands of North Carolinians to safely quarantine and isolate to prevent the spread of COVID-19,” said NCDHHS Secretary Mandy K. Cohen, M.D. “Food assistance was one of the top requested items from people who needed support, and the continuation of this program is a key part of our whole-person approach to improving health and well-being and continuing to fight COVID-19.”
The 34 counties where food assistance through the Support Services Program is now available are: Brunswick, Carteret, Chatham, Columbus, Craven, Duplin, Durham, Edgecombe, Franklin, Granville, Greene, Halifax, Harnett, Johnston, Jones, Lee, Lenoir, Moore, Nash, New Hanover, Onslow, Orange, Pamlico, Pender, Person, Pitt, Richmond, Sampson, Scotland, Vance, Wake, Warren, Wayne and Wilson.
People who need help beyond food assistance or do not live in one of the 34 counties, may be eligible for support through the Community Health Worker Program — available in all 100 counties. Assistance is also available through the NCCARE 360 program.
Launched in August 2020, the Support Services Program has evolved in two phases. The first phase helped 41,800 North Carolina households safely isolate or quarantine during the pandemic by providing groceries and meals, financial relief payments, medication delivery and more. The first phase ended in February 2021. In this second phase, the Support Services Program will now focus on providing food assistance, as it has been one of the top requested services from program recipients.
Individuals eligible for the program include those in one of the 34 counties who tested positive for or were exposed to COVID-19 and need food to safely quarantine or isolate, as well as those who fall into the CDC’s high-risk category for severe illness due to COVID-19 and need food to safely isolate. If you or someone you know falls into one of these two categories, connect with a Community Health Worker by finding the contact information for your county in this listing on the NCDHHS website.
The Food Bank of Central & Eastern North Carolina is one of seven food banks in the state and addresses hunger in 34 North Carolina counties. Within these 34 counties, nearly 600,000 people face hunger. Last year alone, the Food Bank of Central & Eastern North Carolina provided over 115 million meals to families and individuals, more than a third of which was produce.
The Support Services Program builds on NCDHHS’ Community Health Worker Program, which employs frontline public health workers who are trusted members of the community in all 100 counties to connect North Carolinians with medical and social supports such as diagnostic testing, behavioral health services, education about vaccines and assistance with vaccine registration.