Posted by Elle Kehres | Mar 23, 2020
In the 2018 to 2019 school year, almost 27 percent of children in the Chapel Hill/Carrboro City School District were reported as food insecure. That’s over 3,000 students.
As COVID-19 keeps schools closed and many parents from work, local nonprofits are seeing a bigger need than ever and need your help to serve the community and fight hunger.
Starting on March 16, CHCCS Child Nutrition has teamed up with several hunger-relief organizations to provide meals and groceries to students and their families.
In the summer months, these organizations partner under the “Food for the Summer” program – providing meals to local children over the school holiday – but as the coronavirus keeps students at home, food insecurity is at the forefront of the school district’s mind.
Chapel Hill Mayor Pam Hemminger said she is proud to see how the Food for the Summer network has pulled people back together to combine their efforts during this time of uncertainty.
“Our community is amazing,” Hemminger said. “I’m so grateful for the outpouring of support and help throughout the community – people wanting to volunteer, people wanting to donate. We want to make it a coordinated effort to make sure we’re reaching as many families as possible.”
But Hemminger said she is concerned as she expects the need to continue growing, especially as workplace establishments remain closed and financial resources are stretched thin.
“We’re going to actually get more overwhelmed as more people are laid off from their jobs in the service industry, they’re going to need access to the food and services that the IFC, Food for the Summer, TABLE and PORCH and all the other different groups that are involved provide,” Hemminger said.
Hemminger said the federal government has provided some money for the school system to produce the meals, but the question is how to get the meals to those in need.
“So we’re looking for volunteers,” Hemminger said. “You don’t have to have human-to-human contact, we just need physically to have these meals picked up and delivered to certain sites.”
Volunteers are becoming more scarce as people begin to fear for their safety, but Hemminger said volunteering can take many different forms.
“It’s a changing dynamic,” Hemminger said. “I just heard that volunteers aren’t showing up for certain things because they’re frightened and it’s a very ever-changing model so whatever folks can do – go online and donate if that’s what you feel you can do. We have a whole list of opportunities for people to help their own community.”
Hemminger said the town council is continuously working to help the most vulnerable in the community – whether it be children, service industry workers, or the elderly.
“So we’re trying to figure out and asking people to make sure that you don’t think about just your family, but think about your community as a whole,” Hemminger said.
CHCCS will continue providing food for children at designated sites Monday through Friday until April 3.
To get involved and learn more about the Food for the Summer program and its partners, visit their website.
To learn more about 97.9 The Hill’s Fill the Bus donation drive for TABLE, click here.
sourced 3.24.2020 from Chapelboro.com