By Brenda Camp, Community Outreach Coordinator
Our Round Up for TABLE’s kids rolled past our community goal to provide backpack meals for the 525 kids in TABLE’s Summer Meal Program! Since 2015, Weaver Street owners and shoppers have donated $308,269 to TABLE for backpack meals. This level of community support is enabling TABLE to expand its Weekend Meal Backpack Program to hungry kids in the Orange County Schools (OCS).
Ashton Tippins, Executive Director at TABLE, identified New Hope Elementary as the first school in OCS to participate in the Weekend Meal Backpack Program. Tippins explained that New Hope Elementary was chosen because of its high level of food insecurity (more than 65% of the students qualify for the free and reduced lunch program). She also noted that the school’s close proximity to Chapel Hill and Carrboro made the logistics of the expansion a little easier.
Tippins and TABLE’s Board of Directors identified expanding into OCS as a strategic objective last summer. For the past year, Tippins has worked with Avis Barnes, Lead School Social Worker for OCS, and Sarah Patterson, Social Worker for New Hope Elementary, to identify a feasible path to serve the food insecure kids at New Hope Elementary. In January, TABLE conducted a pilot study with a small number of kids at the school. The results were quite favorable, and the program is now expanding.
Our students and families are incredibly grateful for the weekly food they receive from TABLE! Many of our families would face hunger or economic hardship to provide food when school is not in session, so knowing that the children will receive healthy AND fresh food to eat during the weekends is a huge relief! As a school, working with TABLE has been a dream! We are appreciative of all the partners who make this food distribution possible for our students.
–Sarah Patterson, Social Worker, New Hope Elementary School
For the 2019-2020 school year, TABLE’s goal is to add 80 students from New Hope to the Weekend Meal Backpack Program. Food costs for one student for the backpack meals during the school year is about $500. The funds raised until October 31, the end of TABLE’s Round Up at the Carrboro and Southern Village stores, will be used for these 80 new kids.
Hillsborough’s Round Up for OCS Moves toward Goal
The Round Up at the Hillsborough store is moving closer to its goal of $50,000 with $40,615 donated. Last school year, the Round Up funds provided boxes of fresh, healthy food for 432 families at six OCS schools for the school breaks when these students do not have access to free and reduced lunches. This school year, our goal is to provide food for at least 500 families.
For this program, we work directly with the schools rather than with a non-profit organization. We deliver pallets of food to the schools, where staff and volunteers sort and pack the food. Our intention is to continue this program as TABLE expands into OCS and to work with TABLE and the schools to identify the greatest need and the greatest good we can do.