We’ve turned your gift into chicken tenders and broccoli.

We’ve turned your gift into chicken tenders and broccoli.

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There is a certain sweet hum when children fill a room.  On Fridays at Whitaker Chapel in Pilot Mountain that very hum fills up the activity room as children compare summertime adventures: one little girl is talking about her grandypappy’s garden, another about the pool. Two little boys compare notes about how to build a floating castle in Minecraft.


Second Harvest Food Bank and our Surry county partners at S.E.A.M.S Ministries are providing free lunches at Whitaker Chapel throughout the summer-a time when children who rely on school lunch during the academic year often go without. Children can be dropped off (parents are welcome, too!) at 11 AM and enjoy playtime before eating a nutritious hot meal provided by Second Harvest Food Bank’s Triad Community Kitchen program.

Kids sat around big folding tables and sniffed, picked and prodded at a meal of chicken tenders,  rosemary roasted potatoes, broccoli and fresh apples. There is an unequivocal consensus that the chicken fingers are spot on, but it isn’t until one girl says the broccoli was her favorite and receives a high-five from a volunteer that other kids start to stab at the green spears with their forks and hesitantly nibble the tips.  There are at least two converts at the table.


Every one of the 27 summer meal sites across 18 counties that Second Harvest Food Bank helps coordinate is a bit different, to best fit local needs. This program not only provides a healthy lunch and snack, but it also provides a space for community and fellowship.

After the meal is over, the pastor, his wife and a handful of volunteers take the children outside to jump rope and play ball, while other volunteers prepare snack and backpack meals to send  home with the children for the weekend.

Families in Surry County are still reeling from the recession. “The majority of it is that they lost jobs in the last ten years, and the new jobs don’t pay much,” explains Linda Covington, a volunteer.

“I have 3 kids so I understand how hard it can be,” says Debbie O’Reilly, another volunteer. “We had a business that went sour. Our friends grew vegetables and gave them to us and it helped until we could get on our feet again.”


The volunteers have all taken the project to heart. They are working with the local Rotary to provide school supplies and a local hardware store to provide socks to the children on the last day of the summer meal service.

But O’Reilly says the most rewarding thing is to see the same children during the school year in her children’s schools and “they give you big hugs and squeeze you.”


This is what we mean by #feedingcommunity.  What is happening in the small church in Surry County is a testimony to how Second Harvest, our partner agencies, volunteersand donors like you help care for children, giving them the nutrients they need during the summer months so they can return to school ready to learn.

It’s a bonus that we might get a few to taste broccoli along the way.

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$1 provides 7 meals.

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#children #rural #SurryCounty #SEAMS #summermeals #WhitakerChapel

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