What is Loaves and Fishes of Union County?

Loaves and Fishes of Union County Inc. is a non-profit volunteer community food pantry program that provides groceries for nutritionally balanced meals,free of charge, to Union County residents in crisis, up to 3 times in any 12 month period.

How long has Loaves and Fishes of Union County existed?

We are currently celebrating our 30th year of serving this community without ever a single paid employee. Loaves and Fishes of Union County Inc, was founded in 1983, incorporated in 1984 and was awarded its own IRS non-profit status in 1988: fein 56-1487183 and our DUNS 078634396.

How much food does one get from Loaves and Fishes of Union County and how are you confident that the meals provided by your allotment of groceries produces nutritionally balanced meals?

Our original packing list was put together for Loaves and Fishes of Union County by a dietitian and we have local hospital dietitians Shannon Edgerton CMC Dietary Dept 291 x246review our packing list periodically to be sure that our 27-30 meals per person in the family are nutritionally balanced.

View a copy of the current packing list.

Where is Loaves and Fishes of Union County located?

Our offices are at our 202 N. Stewart Street location                                                       location-1
(the rear door of the historic downtown Monroe Belk store)


You can call us at 980-328-7111.



and we have the original pantry in St. Paul’s Episcopal Church at 116 S. Church Street





Our mailing address is PO Box 790 Monroe, NC 28111-0790

Is Loaves and Fishes of Union County a United Way Agency?

No, we have not needed to apply for agency status with United Way but we do serve a number of their agencies.

Loaves and Fishes of Union County is a completely volunteer, stand alone, charitable non-profit entity, not affiliated with any larger organization nor funded by any agency of the Federal, State or Local government, other than by occasionally being awarded specific grants for which we qualify and for which we apply.

Where does your support come from?

Funds and food come to Loaves and Fishes of Union County from individuals, local congregations, civic and church groups, businesses, independent drives and schools.

Civitan Grant

Civitan Grant

We also apply for and sometimes receive grant money from Monroe Rotary, Charlotte Presbytery, Foundation for the Carolinas, FEMA’s EFSP (Emergency Food & Shelter Program) Walmart and individual Foundations.

Does Loaves and Fishes of Union County have a annual financial computation?

Yes, the accounting firm of Collins, Boike and Moore have done our financial computation every year since inception. Copies are available to review at our office at 202 N. Stewart in Monroe. Ask any Board member to assist you in locating them.

What does Loaves and Fishes of Union County need?

Loaves and Fishes of Union County always needs funds, food and volunteers. We also could use small boxes and plastic bags Refer to the packing list for the quantities and items that we distribute by family size.  And if we are in need of particular items we display a message in ALERTS on our home page.

Who works at Loaves and Fishes of Union County?

Loaves and Fishes of Union County has a constantly changing group of active volunteers who have carried on this most successful ecumenical ministry for the past 30 years. Some keep records,prepare reports, pay bills, care for correspondence, answer phones and e-mail,  write grant applications and otherwise raise funds. Some purchase, transport,log and stock the pantries.

Others divide and package the food in the predetermined assortment and quantity for client families.

We have a Speakers Bureau that supplies presentations to groups in the community.

At our 202 Stewart location we also have volunteers who pack the TEFAP food boxes and distribute them to the folks whose income level qualifies them.

How can an individual or family receive the services of Loaves and Fishes of Union County?

Clients are served on a referral basis after screening by one of our partner agencies. One can only be a recipient a maximum of 3 times in any 12 month period.  Having people become long term dependent on Loaves and Fishes of Union County defeats our purpose of being a hand up to families in crisis rather than a handout.

Which are your partner agencies whose referrals you accept?

Loaves and Fishes of Union County serves an average of more than 5000 people in the community yearly and is a vital arm of its partner social services agencies: Union County DSS, Health Department and Veteran’s Services, Union County Community Action and Crisis Assistance, Union House, American Red Cross, Turning Point, CMC-Union, NOVANT and Union Regional Home Care, Council on Aging,  Arc of Union County, HELP Crisis Pregnancy Center, Someone Who Cares, many local clergy and United Way.

Can you help with rent or utility assistance?

No, we are a pantry. We only have food to give.

Are there any other services you provide?

Yes. At our 202 Stewart location only we also are the County’s major distributor of USDA donated commodities extension of the Food Stamp program as a part of TEFAP (The Emergency Food Assistance Program) for low income residents.

When did that start and what is it?

In the summer of 2010 Union County DSS needed to step out of the program that they had handled on a quarterly basis out of the armory. Without an “established, well run” pantry to take it over the county would have lost thousands of pounds of USDA food allocated for Union County. In partnership with Second Harvest-Metrolina they set out to find such a pantry. After having met all of their requirements as well as those of the USDA, and agreeing to take on the record keeping Loaves and Fishes of Union County was asked to take on TEFAP distribution on a monthly basis to qualified low income families.

Are canned goods still safe after a year or so?

Store high acid foods such as tomatoes and other fruit up to 18 months; low acid foods such as meat and vegetables 2 to 5 years. Canned meat and poultry will keep at best quality 2 to 5 years if the can remains in good condition and has been stored in a cool, clean, dry place. Properly stored it may still be used but quality is not at its best. To learn more view the U.S Department of Agriculture website for a more detailed FAQ.

Confused about dates: sell by, use by, best if used by and actual expiration dates?

Review the following article “What Do Food Expiration Dates Mean?” a Gourmet Food & Cooking Resource for an in depth explanation of dates.