The Food Bank operates several programs aimed at helping the most vulnerable of the food insecure population – children and seniors. As we learned more about COVID-19, it became apparent we would have to do things differently to ensure this food could still be provided.
The Commodity Supplemental Food Program (CSFP) is a USDA program administered by the Food Bank that provides a monthly package of food designed to supplement the nutritional needs of low-income senior citizens. Each box includes vegetables, fruits, whole grains, protein, and dairy, packed with care by Food Bank volunteers. The Food Bank packs and distributes nearly 6,000 CSFP boxes to seniors every month.
Normally seniors pick these boxes up at a local Food Bank partner agency, but due to the pandemic, it is not safe for this population to gather. During this uncertain time, Food Bank staff and volunteers will be delivering boxes to the doors of the seniors who participate in the program and rely heavily on this monthly supplement to their diet. In April, members of the North Carolina National Guard used their skills to assist with these deliveries.
Summer hunger started early
The COVID-19 pandemic and the economic crisis means more people than ever are facing hunger each day. Schools have been closed, and in some cases unable to continue providing meals to children. Some caregivers have lost their jobs and healthcare. Because schools have been closed, the Food Bank was able to activate the Kids Summer Meals Program (or Summer Food Service Program) earlier than traditional summers. Summer hunger started early this year, and our goal is to raise 4.4 million to meet this urgent need.
In the Food Bank’s 34-county service area, just over 300,000 children are eligible for free or reduced-cost breakfast and lunch. We also know there are increased expenses for childcare in the summer and the cost of utilities rise along with temperatures. With our many partners, the Food Bank is working to provide as many of those meals as possible to children and teens for as long as needed.
On top of our normal operations, the Food Bank is addressing summer hunger in two ways. First is our Kids Summer Meals sites where kids can get breakfast and lunch meals in their community. Currently this program is providing more than 17,500 meals per week to kids at over 30 meal sites. Second, we are distributing thousands of family-sized food boxes to our partners as well as directly to school districts for children and families.
With your support, the Food Bank will continue to keep children and their families nourished all summer long. Together, we can nourish children and families this summer and end the worry over where the next meal is coming from.
Help us feed kids and families experiencing hunger today. Every $10 you give, when matched, can help provide 100 nutritious meals! Match ends July 31.