Watching the dance of forklifts moving around the warehouse, our partner agencies’ staff and volunteers selecting food for their pantries, and our drivers loading their trucks as they prepare to distribute food to our rural counties – these are a few of my favorite things.
Taken together, they are a powerful reminder of two things:
First, the need is great. Too many families across our 18-county service area find themselves in jobs that don’t always cover the monthly bills or their carefully balanced budgets have been disrupted by an unexpected expense.
Second, your commitment to making a difference to our neighbors in need is powerful! It is no exaggeration when I say that the activities I mentioned above would not be possible without your involvement - as donors, as volunteers, and as advocates.
One of the vital responses you make possible is our expanded commitment to addressing childhood hunger. After a record-setting summer – we delivered over 2,100 meals per day to kids in various enrichment and camp programs – we are now expanding our after-school meal delivery. Ensuring our children have the food they need to focus in school is foundational to their educational success. We are committed to doing even more to achieve our vision of ensuring every child has enough to eat, every day.
We are also diving deeper into the quiet epidemic of hunger on our college campuses. Whether it is our community colleges or four-year institutions, research tells us that up to 40% of students found themselves unable to pay for food at some point during the past year. This places the next generation of workers at-risk of failure or, at the least, unable to reach their full potential. That is why this month Second Harvest participated as a lead convener in the Carolinas College Hunger Summit – a two day gathering of students, faculty, administrators, and community leaders to share ideas and build better solutions, together.
Through significant investments led by Tyson Foods and Food Lion, we are increasing the capacity of our Food Bank to distribute more fresh produce and to prepare hot meals. We are incredibly thankful to all of our grocery and other retail partners and their amazing team members. They are listed on the next page, and I want to encourage you to thank them for joining you in supporting Second Harvest’s mission. Along with you, and everyone who supports our food drives, these groups embody the spirit of caring that is symbolic of the people of Northwest North Carolina.
As we enter harvest season and then the Season of Giving, I hope all of you will take a moment to reflect on the difference you make through Second Harvest Food Bank. Please know that you are giving hope to families, caring for our seniors, and transforming the futures of our young people. We are very thankful for you all!
P.S. There are many incredible highlights in this issue, so please enjoy. And be sure to get involved with our work and stay in touch with our daily activities through social media.
With deep appreciation,
CEO, Second Harvest Food Bank of Northwest North Carolina