By Maureen O’Boyle


Second Harvest Food Bank of Metrolina held their 2014 Partner Appreciation Award luncheon Thursday at Meyers Park Methodist. The non-profit took time to thank the local businesses, faith-based organizations and individuals who have worked over the last year to help Second Harvest fight hunger in our area.

This year’s Ted Heyward Award, “Compassion in Action” recognition went to Thomas and Kelly Davis. This is the first time the award has been given to a couple.

Ted Heyward was a founding chairman of Second Harvest who always hoped his work wouldn’t be needed for long, but hunger, as we know still exists. As Executive Director Kay Carter made the announcement, it was clear the impact the Davis family has had over the last several years and particularly in 2014.

The Carolina Panthers’ star-player, Carter said, gives as much to his community as he gives on the field, total commitment! Together with his Thomas Davis Defending Dreams Foundation, the couple has supported Second Harvest through their fundraisers as well as generous financial donations.

“Second Harvest has done a great job for this community. They are helping families out and making sure children don’t go hungry. And we believe in that same thing so we try to make a difference as well, we’re just happy to be involved,” Thomas Davis told me after accepting their award. “It’s definitely an honor just knowing some of the recipients who have received this award. It definitely means a lot to us. We’re just excited to be recipients today.”

Kelly Davis was a bit surprised when the screen flashed her name too as the award was announced. “I was just sitting here today. I was thinking Thomas was going to be honored and then it was both of us. Anything that he’s doing I’m there 100% and this is something near and dear to our hearts. We’re honored,” Kelly said.

Bank of America and The Springs Close Foundation were given The Lifetime Achievement Awards for their tremendous ongoing support of Second Harvest throughout the Carolinas. Kay got emotional highlighting their work describing them as always going the extra mile to give of their time, effort, talents and financial support.

Hendrick Automotive, and Lynn Carlson were celebrated for their new program and huge financial donation to create “Together We Feed”, a mobile food pantry program that is designed to bring fresh vegetables and food directly to families at their childrens’ schools.

The event highlighted commitments from several local businesses, Harris Teeter and Food Lion were recognized for their contributions of food and support through special events and fundraisers. David Weekley Homes was honored for the efforts employees made collecting turkeys for families to enjoy a holiday meal. The number of turkeys collected this year well over 2,000!

Vanguard employees were celebrated for amping up this year’s efforts and making a huge impact in Second Harvest’s work throughout 19 counties to fill shelves in hundreds of pantries. Charlotte Eye Ear Nose and Throat held special events throughout the year. They received the Special Events Partner Award. The list of companies recognized also included Cargill, Simpson’s Eggs, Titan Farms, Whole Foods, Vanguard, DP World, CRVA, Art Institute of Charlotte, Electrolux and Mercedes-Benz of South Charlotte and Felix Sebates.

The Faith Based Partner Award went to Elevation Church, celebrated for the hundreds of volunteer hours church members committed through food drives during their “Love Week”.

A man you will see at almost any Second Harvest Food Bank Function is Earnest Perry. And he was given Individual Volunteer Award for his work as auctioneer, “The best in the business,” said Carter. He also gives generously from his company, Perry Fine Antique and Estate Jewelry.

As a representative of WBTV, I accepted the honor of Media Partner Award. I feel blessed every time I am asked to help, whether it’s Chef’s Best, Empty Bowls or packing bags of food for their Harvest Feast Food Drive.

Second Harvest works tirelessly to end hunger, especially among our children and elderly.

Second Harvest Food Bank serves food pantries and school programs in nineteen counties across North and South Carolina. As Kay Carter told the crowd the organization can only carry out their mission with the help of volunteers. They have all kinds of volunteer opportunities, and are always great for support through financial means or food donations.

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