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Loaves & Fishes, Friendship Trays Announce Merger

111220 Loaves & Fishes food share.JPG
David Boraks
/
WFAE
Aaron Garcia loaded a box of free food into a car at a Loaves & Fishes pop-up food pantry on Charlotte's west side last fall.

Two Charlotte-area food programs founded in the mid-1970s are merging. Loaves & Fishes and Friendship Trays say the merger will bring savings, such as combining staff and sharing office space.

The combined organization will be known for now as Loaves & Fishes/Friendship Trays, but officials say they could adopt a new name later.

Loaves & Fishes was founded in 1975 and runs a network of food pantries in Mecklenburg County. Friendship Trays, founded a year later, delivers meals to seniors and people who can't prepare their own food.

The groups say they planned to merge last spring, before the COVID-19 pandemic. But the merger was delayed as both organizations adjusted their operations and delivery models amid the coronavirus pandemic.

Tina Postel, currently executive director of Loaves & Fishes, is chief executive of the new organization. Friendship Trays executive director Lucy Bush Carter serving will be director emeritus during the transition.

“Being food insecure can be a scary, shameful experience and we want to work together to improve that,” Postel said in a press release. “We believe that working together as one will improve overall access to nutritious food in a way that ensures kindness, dignity and hope are also byproducts of our services.”

The organizations first plan to merge their staff into one office, as pandemic safety measures allow. Altogether they will have 38 employees - 25 from Loaves & Fishes and 13 from Friendship Trays. A spokeswoman said no jobs are being eliminated.

Meanwhile, their boards will combine to oversee a newly formed nonprofit organization.

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