Foodbank aims to ‘Stop Summer Hunger’

May. 20, 2013 @ 06:52 PM

 “School’s out, but hunger isn’t.”

That’s the simple but compelling message behind the Food Bank of Central & Eastern North Carolina’s campaign to feed 300,000 students this summer during the months that school is no longer in session.

The students, who reside in the Food Banks’ 34-county service area, all receive free or reduced lunches during the school year, but will lose access to those meals over the summer months.

 “Imagine the angst of parents and grandparents looking for a way to supplement that program,” said Peter Werbicki, president and CEO of the Food Bank.

Werbicki and several corporate sponsors held a news conference Monday at the Hargraves Community Center to announce the start of the program, now in its sixth year.

They also announced a name change.

The program, which has provided 8.6 million meals to children over the past five years, will be known as “Stop Summer Hunger” to more closely reflect its mission.

In past years, the program was called “Kids Summer Stock.”

The Food Bank has set an ambitious goal to provide 3 million meals this summer, which if achieved, will be a significant increase over the 2.3 million meals provided last year.

“We’re trying to raise the bar this summer,” Werbicki said.

But reaching its new goal will require lots of help from supporters during a time when food banks across the nation see donations slow down.

To get the word out about the needs of the students and to encourage donations, the Food Bank has partnered with ABC 11, Cisco, Streets at Southpoint Mall and the Raleigh Dragon Boats Club, which will donate proceeds from a June 22 race to the “Stop Summer Hunger” program.

“That’s a great cause and we’re proud to be a part of it,” said John Lang, a member of the club.

Citizens can donate to the cause on line at www.foodbankcenc.org. Food Bank officials say the organization can provide $10 worth of food, or approximately five meals, for every $1 donated.

They are also asking supporters to hold a food drive in their communities or neighborhoods or host a “Drive, Drop and Go” event for employees.

A third way to contribute is to donate time and help to spread the word about the campaign on social media,

Those interested should follow the Food Bank on Twitter @FoodBankCENC and tweet using the hashtag #SSH@2013

Or “Like” the Food Band on Facebook and share information at facebook.com/FoodBankCENC.