RALEIGH — The Food Bank of Central & Eastern North Carolina and its 700 partner agencies have seen a 42% increase in the number of people needing services, and State Treasurer Dale R. Folwell, CPA, took the initiative to help the nonprofit organization meet its growing financial obligations.
Treasurer Folwell visited the food bank’s main distribution center in Raleigh on Tuesday, Dec. 20, to return missing funds that had wound up in the Unclaimed Property Division of the Department of State Treasurer. He presented Jessica Whichard, vice president of communications and public policy, with a check for $2,515. Whichard said every dollar donated provides for five meals, so the $2,515 from UPD would provide about 12,600 meals.
“The holidays have a special meaning because they are a time for family, sharing and caring, giving and gratitude. Yet many of our friends and neighbors are struggling and find themselves in need during this season,” Treasurer Folwell said.
“The Food Bank of Central & Eastern North Carolina is a vital first stop for people in their time of scarcity. Nobody gives more than the volunteers and staff of this wonderful agency. They maintain that mission of human service year-round, and they’ve been doing it for 40 years. We are happy to be able to give back the money that rightfully belongs to the food bank so that it can supplement the reach of their vital work.”
“We’re so appreciative of the funds received today from the Office of the State Treasurer,” said Ashley C. McCumber, food bank President & CEO. “Right now our friends and neighbors in our 34-county service area are having to make choices no one should have to: Rent or food, medicine or food. Thanks to the power of our partnerships, we are able to stretch resources, and these funds will go a long way in supporting North Carolinians.”
According to the food bank, more than 500,000 individuals in its service area are food insecure, not always knowing where their next meal will come from, which detracts from an active and healthy life.
“More members of our community are struggling to keep up with the rising cost of food, rent and utilities right now. Record-high costs have also impacted the work we do. Food prices are higher, and it costs more to fill our fleet of delivery trucks with gas,” McCumber said.
Many families are finding themselves in this situation for the first time — previously making their budgets work, but no longer able to make ends meet due to unemployment, furlough or reduced hours. Last year the food bank provided over 81 million meals to families and individuals through its Raleigh main distribution center and its Durham, Greenville, New Bern, Sandhills and Wilmington branches.
UPD is commonly called NCCash.com. It is the repository for 17.7 million properties valued at $1.02 billion under DST’s custody awaiting return to the rightful owners after being lost, misdirected or overlooked. More than 19 million owners are associated with those properties being safeguarded by DST.
UPD paid 178,857 claims amounting to more than $105 million during the 2022 fiscal year that ended June 30. Both numbers were historical records. The returns are on pace to set another record this fiscal year. Through Nov. 30, UPD has paid 74,979 claims totaling over $44 million from NCCash. Part of that total has been disbursed through the NCCash Match program, a no-hassle, expedited system that eliminated paperwork processing. As of Nov. 30, DST paid 44,200 Cash Match claims totaling about $12.6 million.
Under state law, UPD receives and safeguards funds that are escheated, or turned over, to DST. The unclaimed property consists of bank accounts, wages, utility deposits, insurance policy proceeds, stocks, bonds and contents of safe deposit boxes that have been abandoned.
Unclaimed property can result from a person or entity forgetting they are due money, or from a move of location and forgetting to provide a new address. It also could result from a typing error in a house number or zip code in an address, a name change, or data loss from a business converting its computer system. As society becomes more mobile and steadily moves to electronic transactions, the risk of having unclaimed property has increased.
More information, including how to find out if you are owed money, can be found at https://www.nccash.com/.