Food for Thought backpack feeding program gains non-profit status
SALISBURY - Food for Thought, a community backpack program that sends children from food-insecure families home with easy-to-prepare meals at the end of each school week, has gained nonprofit, 501-C3 status.
"This major development will give us the opportunity to pursue additional avenues of funding," said Amy Goodnight, executive director of Food for Thought, which began in 2008. "We serve 10 schools now in Rowan County, including 150 to 175 students. Many people are not aware that 1-in-5 families are considered 'food insecure,' nationally, and that one in four children in Rowan County are living in poverty.
"Almost 70 percent of students in our local elementary schools receive free or reduced lunches at school because of their family's financial situation. That is a huge number," Goodnight said.
"It is actually 6,358 students. We are serving the students with the greatest need. But it easy to see that we have a long way to go to make sure our children are fed. Hungry children cannot learn. And when they don't get a good education then the cycle of poverty can never be broken."
Food for Thought serves students at Cleveland, Granite Quarry, Hanford-Dole, Knollwood, Koontz, North Rowan, Overton, Shive and Woodleaf Elementary Schools. A pilot program began this year for 6th-grade students at Knox Middle School as well.
"I think its awesome," said the Rev. Wayne Hougland, Jr., rector for St. Luke's Episcopal Church in Salisbury, which has been shepherding the Food for Thought program up to this point.
"There is obviously a great need in the community, which is unfortunate. But we have assisted them to get these needs met. It points to a larger calling that we are embracing as a congregation. We are the church that feeds people," Hougland said.
Food for Thought has a fundraising event, Bunco Boo, on Oct. 18 at the Heritage Room in downtown Salisbury. Bunco Boo is a game night and social event for women.
For more information, please visit Food for Thought on Facebook or get more information at www.ncfoodforthought.org.