Hungry Children - Unseen, unheard, but all around us.

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You may be surprised to know that 30% of elementary school children in the Chapel Hill-Carrboro school system receive subsidized school breakfasts and lunches during the school year. "People just could not see this problem, unless you have children in local public elementary schools," said Susan Romaine, one of the founders and leaders of PORCH (Chapel Hill). "We want to feed hungry kids, and help our neighbors."

The people at PORCH aren't the only ones feeding our community's children. "We are bringing together community members to feed local hungry kids who go hungry when school is off," said Ashton Tippins, the Executive Director of TABLE.

PORCH (Chapel Hill) and TABLE are two local hunger-relief organizations that provide healthy food to local hungry children suffering from hunger throughout Chapel Hill and Carrboro. Both organizations primarily get referrals though school social workers. PORCH and TABLE are actively involved in local hunger relief efforts through different programs.

PORCH runs two kinds of programs: "Food for Pantries" and "Food for Families." Every month, PORCH collects non-perishable food from front porches and fresh food from local market and Harris Titter. PORCH serves seven pantries, including St. Joseph CME Church, the Orange County DSS, Compass Center and Meals On Wheels.

On June 2014, PORCH delivered 614 non-perishable food bags and 520 produce food bags to local pantries. Food varies from cans of tuna to bags of rice. PORCH's Food for Family program delivers non-perishables and fresh produce directly into the hands of 255 families every month. Food includes can foods, pasta, fresh vegetable, fruit, milk, egg and ground beef been delivered directly to 3 public elementary schools and apartment complexes. Families have received food delivery notification in advance, and stand in line when volunteers drive food to distribution locations.

"Among the children, 40% are Latino, 20% are African American, 37% are refugees and 4% are white," said Debbie Horwitz, one of the founders and Co-Director of PORCH. "We cover 135 neighborhood and each of the neighborhoods has 1 to 2 neighborhood coordinators. Many people want a way to donate; they just don't know what to do. We provide a convenient way for people to help. PORCH is like a 'club' connecting among neighbors." Michal Smith has been volunteer for PORCH for more than 4 years, he highly spook PORCH as an "open" organization with "no attitude."

TABLE started to serve Chapel Hill and Carrboro area in 2008. So far in 2014, TABLE typically provides healthy food to more than 220 children each week. Through its "Weekend Meal Backpack Program", "Summer TABLE" and "SnackChef" programs, TABLE brings together UNC college students and community members to help local hungry kids. TABLE delivers healthy, non-perishable bags to kids through Backpack program during the school year and Summer Table when schools are off during summer time.

"SnackChef" is a unique program which sends college volunteers to teach children in local low-income afterschool programs, during the school year. Volunteers teach children how to make healthy fresh snacks to share with their families. "TABLE wants to encourage and empower kids to make healthy snacks. They love putting the snack together, instead of it just appearing on their plates," Ashton said. "We use different variations of food-- like a pizza bagel with extra vegetables so people try new things… sometimes to try new combinations, like pea shoots, which are weird, but with cheese they are good, I think!" "I love doing this! It is such a great interaction with the kids," Said Laura Moore, Program Director of TABLE.

Posted by Xuan Li on Tue. November 25, 2014 12:06 PM
Categories: Student Research
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