Happy November! Believe it or not, we are just over two weeks away from Thanksgiving. With the holiday season upon us, I thought it would be a good opportunity to share some ways your department can help combat against North Carolina’s food insecurity issue. This wellness blog will give your department some ideas on how to help provide healthy food access to everyone in your community.
According to the North Carolina Association of Feeding America Food Banks, one out of four children in North Carolina are food insecure. This is an alarming statistic and ranks North Carolina as one of the highest percentages in the nation. The same source states that “Approximately 160,000 different people in NC receive emergency food assistance in any given week.”
With food insecurity being such an immense problem in North Carolina, a department sponsored food drive could help provide your local food banks with supplies to distribute out to those who need them the most.
One idea for food drive collection is to encourage program participants to bring nonperishable food items to your programs. If you are running any athletic leagues, consider holding a food donation day. Set collection bins near the entrance of your facility, and encourage attendees to bring a food item upon entry. Make sure you utilize your program instructors, coaches, and staff to advertise this donation day.
There are a lot of great resources out there to help in planning a food drive. The North Carolina 4-H Youth Development office put together a great toolkit with a compilation of resources and appropriate steps to take when developing a food drive.
Another idea to help provide food relief to members of your community is to hold a department volunteer day. Although programs are in full swing, volunteering for a good cause can be very rewarding and a great way to build chemistry among your staff. Find a local food pantry or soup kitchen, and reach out to set up a department volunteer trip.
The NCRPA Wellness Toolkit provides some additional ideas on how to offer accessible healthy food to your community. To learn how to provide healthy cooking and nutrition classes for your department, click this link. Another great resource on the wellness toolkit is our community garden page. Community gardens can be a great way to provide accessible, healthy food for all.
The holiday season is a perfect time to begin initiatives to help combat against food insecurity in North Carolina. Hopefully, the resources provided in this blog can help you start a new food security program, or improve upon an existing one.
Until next time,