Eighth Hunger & Homeless soup banquet stirs up issues

Article copyright (c) 2019 The Brunswick Beacon. The Brunswick Beacon is your source for local news, sports, events and information in Brunswick County, North Carolina and surrounding areas.

By Laura Lewis, Reporter
Wednesday, November 20, 2019

CALABASH —A roomful of officials and volunteers turned out during Saturday’s cold, blustery weather to talk about hunger and homelessness in Brunswick County and what needs to be done about it.

Betsy Duarte, direct aid committee leader for the Brunswick County Homeless Coalition, which orchestrates the annual gathering, outlined a fact sheet at the Nov. 16 gathering showing in 2017 in Brunswick County, 11.5 percent of residents had an income below the poverty level, a decrease from 14.3 percent in 2016, and 17.4 percent of children under 18 live in poverty, a decrease from 19.3 percent in 2016. Four percent of people 65 and older live in poverty, down from 8.7 percent the prior year.


Paul Witmer of BCHC, representing local American Legion posts (L)
and Charles Jackson, Director of Operations and Outreach for
Brunswick Family Assistance address the Eighth Annual Hunger and
Homeless Banquet and Soup Luncheon in Calabash on Nov. 16th on
the topic of Veteran services. Photo Credit: J. Johnson, BCHC.

Government officials

Brunswick County Commissioner Randy Thompson spoke about the Brunswick Guarantee offering every student an opportunity to receive at least two years of education free of charge “so they never experience some of the things y’all are having to deal with today.”

“The more we educate the community, it makes all the difference,” he said[, pointing] out a growing amount of affordable housing complexes going up or in the planning stage. “That’s something we need to continue to concentrate on,” said Thompson, who also read a proclamation designating the week of Nov. 16-24 as National Hunger and Homelessness Awareness Week.

N.C. Rep. Frank Iler said he supports affordable housing.

“The bad news is the budget has been vetoed,” he said, lauding affordable housing efforts off N.C. 904 and a similar public-private partnership that is to be duplicated in Calabash.

Pat Rourke, director of McKinney-Vento Homeless Education for Brunswick County Schools, said “some people just don’t believe that we have a homeless problem,” citing growing numbers to show otherwise. In the 2018-19 school year, 432 students, plus 25 siblings, were identified under the MV program compared to 355 and 38 in 2017-18. “Don’t think that our numbers are not going to climb this year,” she said, adding there is another peak after Christmas when families may have spent more money than they could afford and are evicted when they can’t pay the rent.

‘Making generosity count’

BFA executive director Stephanie Bowen, speaking on the theme of “making generosity count,” said there has been a surge of displacement and food insecurity since the hurricanes.


Thank you for reading this excerpt from the Brunswick Beacon. Read the entire article at the following link: Eighth Hunger & Homeless soup banquet stirs up issues

Laura Lewis is assistant editor for the Beacon. Reach her at 754-6890 or llewis@brunswickbeacon.com.

Article copyright (c) 2019 The Brunswick Beacon. The Brunswick Beacon is your source for local news, sports, events and information in Brunswick County, North Carolina and surrounding areas.

Disaster Relief

The North Carolina Emergency Management hotline number for individual damage from Hurricane Dorian: 919 825-2378

Official Shelter Information

As of Wed. Sept. 4, 2019, shelter information from the Brunswick County, NC website:

As of 8 a.m. today [Sept. 4], three public, pet-friendly shelters have opened in Brunswick County.

North Brunswick High School: 114 Scorpion Drive, Leland, NC
West Brunswick High School: 550 Whiteville Road, Shallotte, NC
South Brunswick High School: 280 Cougar Road, Boiling Spring Lakes, NC

Also, Brunswick County Emergency Services has a computerized registry of people with special medical needs who may require special assistance in the event of a disaster. Sign up for the registry at https://fs19.formsite.com/ubwatts/form165290145/index.html

Emergency Evacuation Assistance
Tue. Sept. 3, 2019 – IF YOU NEED EMERGENCY HELP specifically with getting to a Brunswick County storm shelter, Brunswick County Emergency Services may be able to help; (910) 253-5383.

Road Conditions

Road Conditions
Storm winds and rains can close roads and create hazardous road conditions. The North Carolina and South Carolina departments of transportation offer interactive online maps reporting current road closures and conditions.

North Carolina Roads: https://tims.ncdot.gov/TIMS/RegionSummary.aspx?co=10
• Road or Lane Closures are indicated by Yellow diamond symbols; select a symbol to see the reason for the closure.

South Carolina Roads: https://scdot.maps.arcgis.com/apps/MapSeries/index.html?appid=f89dbb607181411b86e999ed2897fb21
• Road or Lane Closures are highlighted in purple; select a highlighted area to see what the problem is.

Both maps allow pan and zoom to find the travel area of interest.

WARNING: Driving over flooded or damaged areas of a roadway or street is NOT SAFE. A placid body of flood water over a roadway may conceal a washout and deep and dangerous conditions. Turn Around, Don’t Drown(R).

County Hurricane Hotlines

County Hurricane Hotline and Recovery Numbers
As published on WECT-TV6
• County Hotline Numbers will have official evacuation and shelter information.
• After the storm, you may call your county’s hotline/recovery number, listed below, for specific disaster relief information.

Brunswick County: 910-253-5383
New Hanover County: 910-798-6800
Pender County: 910-259-1210
Columbus County: 910-640-6610
Bladen County: 910-862-7813


  • Updated 9-5-2019 with Road Conditions and Hotline Numbers

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October, 2018 is drawing to a close, and the November 10th, 2018 Seventh Annual Hunger and Homeless Banquet and Soup Luncheon is almost here.

This page contains some promotional materials that you can use to help spread the word.


Hear and Learn Flyer

8.5 x 11"
PDF Format

Hear and Learn Flyer 2-up

8.5 x 11"
PDF Format


Youtube video, 60-second presentation: https://youtu.be/gFq99jK6KfA
Youtube video, 30-second radio PSA: https://youtu.be/WUlG26lQoBI

Radio PSA, 30 seconds, 320kbit MP3, 1.2MB: 7th-hh-30sec-radio-spot-BCHC.mp3

Radio PSA, 30 seconds, WAV format, 5.3MB: 7th-hh-30sec-radio-spot-BCHC.wav


If you use Facebook, you can click on the following link to share the Seventh Hunger and Homeless Banquet page to Facebook: Facebook Share/BCHC/Seventh H&H Banquet


Invite your friends, influential people, random strangers, and anyone else you can think of. Remember to tell them to go to brunswick homeless dot com to register online.