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North Carolina beer, wine distributors aid food deliveries

April 23, 2020 GMT

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) — A number of beer and wine distributors in North Carolina are volunteering their tractor-trailers to help stock the state’s grocery stores and food pantries in the midst of the coronavirus.

The NC Beer & Wine Wholesalers and NC Retail Merchants associations have joined forces to provide its trucks and commercial drivers to get products to the stores, The Charlotte Observer reports, noting the groups are acting with the approval of the state ABC Commission.

Since Gov. Roy Cooper’s stay-at-home order went into effect March 17, distributors lost about a quarter of their business that normally delivers to restaurants and bars, said Tim Kent, executive director of NC Beer & Wine Wholesalers Association.

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Kent said seven companies are helping in the volunteer effort. So far, distributors have helped make Salisbury-based Food Lion store deliveries and Standard Distributors in Gastonia delivered food from grocers and restaurants to Second Harvest Food Bank in Charlotte, he said.

“I’ve got drivers willing to help anyone having distribution difficulties,” Kent said. “These are extraordinary times that require extraordinary measures.”

Brad Johnston, president and owner of Tryon Distributing, said, “It’s the right thing to do and everyone wants to help.”

Johnston said with restaurants closed, he has about six trucks out of 45 that are not being used because of the COVID-19 outbreak.

“Anything I can do to help, I’ve got the people and vehicles,” Johnston said.

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