For most children, summer break from school lasts 90 days. This is 90 days too long for the nearly 321,000 children in the Food Bank’s service area who rely on school meals. Fewer than 1 in 6 children have access to summer food programs, which means many of these children and their families will be worried about where their next meal is coming from rather than the fun activities of summer break.
As we head into the summer months, the Food Bank’s partner agencies are seeing an increase in need, likely due to rising costs of essential items like gas and food. But together, with partners like the Help Center NC, located in Henderson, we can provide kids and their families both help and hope. The organization operates a food pantry – ensuring families have food year-round, and a Kids Summer Meals program when school is out to help supplement children and teens during the summer.
President & Founder Twanna Joyner Jones sees the struggles of families they serve throughout the year – which includes worrying about food, where they will live, and why they don’t have the same clothes or shoes as other kids at school. “We’re not only providing a meal, but we’re trying to figure out what other basic needs the family has,” Jones related. “And we’re only able to do that around a meal. They open up and feel like it’s safe. ”
Jones shares that excitement from kids who receive food in the summer is special. They see the worry fall away from young faces and receive thanks in the form of smiles, hugs, and pictures drawn in gratitude. A recent visitor told Jones they receive hope when they visit the Help Center NC.
“That’s our goal, the greatest combination you can give someone is help and hope. If I give people help without hope, I’ve failed and if I give them hope without help, I’ve failed. But when we bring the two together, we create something that is so magnificent for families. ”
Your support of the Food Bank’s Stop Summer Hunger initiative can provide that combination to kids who could face a summer of hunger. Their goal is to raise enough food and funds to provide 10 million meals this summer – and thanks to you and our partners, we know this is in reach. Donations made in the months of June and July will be matched to double the impact of your gift.
Find out more ways to support and advocate for kids and families this summer by clicking here.
About the Food Bank of Central & Eastern North Carolina: The Food Bank of Central & Eastern North Carolina is a nonprofit organization that has provided food for people at risk of hunger in 34 counties in central and eastern North Carolina for 40 years. The Food Bank serves a network of more than 900 partner agencies such as soup kitchens, food pantries, shelters, and programs for children and adults through warehouses in Durham, Greenville, New Bern, Raleigh, the Sandhills (Southern Pines), and Wilmington.
The Food Bank not only feeds those who are hungry; but also works to benefit community health. That’s why, in 2016, the Food Bank launched a Community Health & Engagement Department. With two nutritionists on staff, the Food Bank shares recipes, healthy tips, and other resources for partner agencies and neighbors in need. The on-site teaching kitchen in Raleigh offers cooking demonstrations and nutrition education to highlight easy, quick, and low-cost recipes using healthful foods like whole grains, fresh produce, low fat dairy, and lean meats.
Healthy Recipe Videos
The Food Bank of Central & Eastern North Carolina has put together a series of healthy recipe videos that are available to watch on YouTube.com HERE.
Monthly Articles from the Food Bank
The Food Bank of Central & Eastern North Carolina shares regular articles about nutrition and health education so we know what to look for when we head to the grocery store and plan our healthy meals. Following are some of the articles featured recently on the WRAL Smart Shopper page.