Summer has always been an uncertain time for people experiencing hunger and organizations fighting food insecurity. Nearly 328,000 children in our 34-county service area rely on free or reduced-cost meals at school and may not have access to that food in the summer. Meanwhile, the pandemic increased food insecurity by 38% in our part of North Carolina, with some of our partner agencies seeing an even larger increase. Unfortunately, summer is also a time when donations to food banks across the country tend to slow down.
The Food Bank’s 900+ partner agencies are relying on us to keep their shelves stocked this summer so they can eliminate the worry of summer hunger for the entire family of those they serve. Our hope is to provide 5 million meals throughout our service area during our Stop Summer Hunger Initiative.
Long-time partner WRAAP (Wilmington’s Residential Adolescent Achievement Place) is a shining example of how serving kids and those who care for them can make a huge difference. WRAAP has hosted a Kid’s Cafe site for over a decade, providing meals, mentoring, tutoring, and physical activity after school. But they operate year-round, including the summer, incorporating families and guardians into their programming. One mom recalled that WRAAP’s tutoring improved her own ability to help her child study and complete homework assignments. Food is a key element of the program – from grocery deliveries to participating families to holiday food distributions.
“I’ve had times when I didn’t know how I was going to make ends meet and the WRAAP program came through for me,” said Eva, whose daughter participates in the program.
When the rest of the family skips meals or food is short, it’s a worry for kids too. Kay, a child who participates in WRAAP, wrote a long letter of thanks including these sobering words, “You providing food for us is amazing. Some of the time honestly, we didn’t know where we were going to get our next meal. I feel very happy that I get to write this letter.”
Keeping agencies stocked over the summer months is just one way the Food Bank is helping to feed kids and families during these critical months. Learn more about our Kids Summer Meals Program, where kids and teens can get breakfast and lunch meals in their community this summer.
With your support, the Food Bank will continue to keep children and their families nourished all summer long and end the worry over where the next meal is coming from.
Visit foodbankcenc.org/stopsummerhunger to donate. From June 1 through July 31, every dollar you donate can provide ten meals thanks to a match by our generous corporate and individual donors.