Cans of soup aren’t typically on the list of things to grab before you leave the house for a Carolina basketball game.
But hundreds of Carolina fans brought thousands of canned goods and non-perishables to the Tar Heels’ opening exhibition game Nov. 4 to help the relief effort for Eastern North Carolina following the destruction of Hurricane Matthew.
“We know the people in the Pembroke area are really hurting, so we wanted to help,” said Susan Dunn after dropping two bags of donations.
Spearheaded by Carolina Chancellor Carol L. Folt and UNC Pembroke Chancellor Robin Gary Cummings, the food drive was an opportunity to help the people of Robeson County, where nearly 600 families were forced to leave their homes due to the storm.
Held in coordination with Harris Teeter’s Million Meals Challenge, the drive had sites set up at the Smith Center’s gates for fans to drop off their donations on the way into the game.
The donations of canned goods, cleaning supplies and non-perishable food items will be distributed to Second Harvest Food Bank, which is providing aid for residents near UNC Pembroke.
“I hope it was very successful,” said Carolina coach Roy Williams, who coached with UNC Pembroke Coach Ben Miller at Kansas. “We need to be aware of those things and the people down there affected by the hurricanes and floods who have had a tough, tough time.”
By the end of the game, several thousand donations had been dropped off.
“It has been a challenging time for our community, but also an opportunity to come together and grow stronger,” Miller said. “We are blessed to have neighbors and friends in Chapel Hill and around the state that have stepped up and been there by our side. It makes me proud to call North Carolina home.”