Every year, we come together to #StopSummerHunger. This is not a normal year. Because of COVID-19, summer hunger started early.
When school is out we know that families struggle to keep food on the table. Children and teens who are part of free and reduced-cost breakfast and lunch programs often no longer receive those meals. There are increased expenses for childcare when school is out, and the cost of utilities rise along with temperatures. Budgets for so many families are already stretched thin, and the stress of covering these additional costs is very real.
The COVID-19 pandemic and the economic crisis means more people than ever are facing hunger each day. Parents and caregivers have lost their jobs and healthcare. Schools have been closed, and in many cases unable to continue providing meals to children, since mid-March. Summer hunger started early this year.
Together we can help ease the burden on families and ensure growing children get the nourishment they need to grow, play, and learn. Our #StopSummerHunger goal this year is to raise 4.4 million meals.
What the Food Bank is doing:
In the Food Bank’s 34-county service area, just over 300,000 (1 in 5) children are eligible for free or reduced cost breakfast and lunch- and in some cases, those meals haven’t been available since mid-March. With our many partners, the Food Bank is working provide as many of those meals as possible to children and teens for as long as needed, and have opened more than 30 free meal sites since April.
In addition, we are distributing thousands of family-sized boxes, each containing 20 meals, to our partners operating pantries and soup kitchens, to school districts for children and families, and to seniors.
How you can help the Food Bank meet the increased need:
- Donate funds – Because of the strength of community relationships, the Food Bank can stretch the gift of a single dollar to provide 5 meals worth of food for a neighbor. And during the months of June and July, your donation is DOUBLED – meaning every dollar can provide 10 meals for the community.
- Involve your friends – Want to mobilize your neighborhood, church group, or family? Holding a Virtual Food Drive is a great way to help – while practicing social distancing. Visit foodbankcenc.org/vfd to get started!
- Donate time – If you are a healthy adult and want to volunteer, you can self-schedule a shift at foodbankcenc.org/volunteer. Current volunteer sessions are being kept much smaller than traditional volunteer groups to best accommodate social distancing. We are also limiting volunteering to ages 18-60 at this time, to best protect vulnerable populations.
- Donate food – We’re always in need of the types of shelf-stable items that you pick up for your own family: things like peanut butter, canned tuna fish and chicken, soup, pasta, and canned fruits and veggies.
Thank you to our #StopSummerHunger Sponsors!
More people than ever are facing hunger each day. We’ve already seen the COVID-19 crisis result in many families who rely on the free and reduced-cost breakfast and lunch programs unable to provide meals to their family’s table. Every summer we know that there are increased expenses for childcare when school is out, and the cost of utilities rise along with temperatures.
This year, summer hunger started early. Schools have been closed since March. Budgets for so many families are already stretched thin, and the stress of covering these additional costs is very real. The hardships that families often face during the summer months are already here, and extreme, due to COVID-19.
What can you do to help?
Because of COVID-19, none of us are eating out for lunch like we are used to. Join the Food Bank of Central & Eastern North Carolina at Wilmington and Share Your Lunch with a child, a parent, or a grandparent in our community. Here is how:
- You can host Share Your Lunch at your workplace. Use the Virtual Food Drive tool on the Food Bank’s website to ask your co-workers to Share Their Lunch (for a day, a week, or a month). You can register your drive with the Food Bank and track your workplace responses. Get started at foodbankcenc.org/vfd.
- If you are not connected with a workplace that is hosting Share Your Lunch, you can join the community-wide Share Your Lunch and make your donation at foodbankcenc.org/goto/shareyourlunch.
Many thanks to the Greater Wilmington Business Journal for helping us spread the word!
In response to COVID-19, as a Food Bank we have made the decision to cancel this year’s Sort-A-Rama.
Right now we are asking companies if they can make a financial donation or host a virtual food drive. As much as traditional food drives are needed right now, we know it may not be possible to organize and facilitate. Remember that with financial donations we can push that dollar further, securing $10 worth of food for every dollar donated. We’re in close touch with the public-school systems in our area, who themselves are working on a plan to keep children fed. There are likely opportunities to support and collaborate on those efforts, and we’re working out those details. Please visit here for updated information.
Sort-A-Rama is a rewarding, large-scale volunteer service project filled with networking, team building, and excitement. Each year volunteers gather at the NC State Fairgrounds to raise awareness about the mission of the Food Bank to nourish people, build solutions, and empower communities while volunteering alongside other leading companies in the Triangle. Participation in Sort-A-Rama builds morale and pride and reinforces a company’s commitment to the community. Join us this year as we hope to make this our biggest year yet!
Thank you to our sponsors!