b'In early 2020, we awarded $100,000 in grants to 10 food bank partners in our local communities. One recipient, Food Bank of the Albemarle in eastern North Carolina, used the funds to purchase a new tractor trailer to help distribute more food within their service area. Here is a letter from Liz Reasoner, executive director of the Food Bank of the Albemarle, explaining the impact of Perdues partnership in a shared mission to alleviate the impact of food insecurity in the region:"Little did we know a year ago as we were planning the christening of the 53-foot trailer the Perdue Foundation funded. how critically important this gift would be. As we placed the vehicle in service in January, we knew that it would make a tremendous impact on our ability to feed those in need, but what we didnt know was how critical it would be in responding to the COVID-19 pandemic and the devastating impact it would have on northeastern North Carolina as well as the country.Over the last 12 months (2020), the Food Bank of the Albemarle has distributed 9.2 million pounds of food across our 15-county service area, a 31% increase over 2019. To further show the importance this vehicle meant to our operation and those we serve, we would have been hard-pressed to meet the COVID-19 pandemic head-on.The Perdue Foundation unknowingly helped us prepare for the storm that lay ahead, but more importantly, helped us create the foundation for successfully sourcing, handing and distributing more food to at-risk individuals in our region.While the full scope of the pandemics long-term impact is not yet known, theres already an economic impact that has led to more time between paychecks and fewer jobs, placing our already vulnerable families at greater risk for hunger. As a result, thousands of individuals turn to us to help make ends meet. For many, the support we provide means the difference between a healthy, happy future, and one that is filled with struggle and strife.This past year, amidst the pandemic, the Food Bank of Albemarle has taken a strategic approach to better serve those at risk of hunger and to address racial inequality. We are utilizing a Racialfective approaches Disparities Dashboard, developed by Feeding America , to help define the most efto meeting community needs and we have already launched mobile pantries in targeted areas as well as begun to source culturally responsive foods. Produce, however, will remain the core of our focus to increase poundage and provide nutritious food. The trailer funded by Perdue Farms is key to that success, and we are positive that the groundwork laid over the past 12 months has readied us to close the meal gap to ensure no one goes hungry. We truly couldnt have done it without you. Thank you!"LIZ REASONERExecutive DirectorFood Bank of the Albemarle41 PEOPLE & PARTNERSCommunities'