WinterBloom raises funds to feed children in need

  • Posted: Thursday, March 14, 2013 12:01 a.m.
Salisbury Academy second-graders pack food into backpacks for Food For Thought. Submitted photo
Salisbury Academy second-graders pack food into backpacks for Food For Thought. Submitted photo

SALISBURY — The annual WinterBloom Gala, known for its support of scholarships for area students, has expanded to help students in the community by contributing to Food For Thought.

Held at the historic Boxwood Lodge in Mocksville, the fourth annual WinterBloom Gala will raise funds to provide scholarships for area high school students to attend the Broyhill Leadership Conference this summer, provide scholarships for students to attend Salisbury Academy, and provide funds for Food For Thought.

“As the event has grown, the WinterBloom Committee has sought ways to expand how the funds support and expand community service projects historically performed by our students and teachers.” We began with a focus on scholarships and have expanded that focus to also include nutrition for children in our community,” said Jay Dees, WinterBloom committee member.

Food for Thought is a community backpack program that provides easy-to-prepare weekend meals to school children from food-insecure families in Salisbury and Rowan County. “Because so many food-insecure children rely on the school lunch program for nutritious meals, weekends can be times of great stress. For this reason, Food for Thought provides healthy, shelf-stable meals to food-insecure children on weekends and some holidays,” said Executive Director Amy Goodnight. She said the organization’s long-term goal is to expand the program in order to provide meals to all eligible children in every interested school by creating alliances within the community.

Food For Thought began in the spring of 2009 feeding 12 children in one school. This year, Food for Thought will complete the school year feeding more than 200 children in 10 schools. Next year Goodnight hopes to have a presence in 14 schools, providing nearly 250 backpacks of food each weekend.

Goodnight explained that children who are free from hunger have fewer health problems, perform better in school, and are more likely to become productive members of their community. “It is our profound belief that feeding children directly and positively contributes to the betterment of our community,” she said.

WinterBloom’s support of this program was made possible by a generous gift from Alice and Fred Stanback. “Donations like the one provided by WinterBloom and the Stanbacks bring us closer to achieving this goal by allowing us to reach more food-insecure children.”

The WinterBloom committee chose to support Food For Thought because it fits with Salisbury Academy’s focus on learning through service projects. Each class, junior kindergarten through eighth grade, involves students in a service project.

Salisbury Academy’s second grade class has been providing food for children at Hanford Dole Elementary School for the past four years. Second grade teacher Mary Lou Williams saw the need to provide food first hand when she taught at Hanford Dole prior to coming to Salisbury Academy.

Her second-grade students are encouraged to shop with their parents for nutritious, non-perishable food items to bring to school. The students sort the items by breakfast, lunch and dinner and pack them. They take turns in small groups delivering the food to Hanford Dole. The Salisbury Academy students are also pen pals with the second grade class at Hanford Dole and the year culminates with the two classes having lunch together.

“We enjoy this project so much not only because of the truly needed service it provides, but also because the students receive intrinsic rewards by showing compassion to others,” said Williams.

“Food for Thoughts’ mission dovetails perfectly with our school’s commitment to teaching the importance of community service through actual experience and projects. Mary Lou Williams initiated and leads our current elementary nutrition outreach that her class performs throughout each school year. The generous support of Alice and Fred Stanback will provide beneficial support to FFT while augmenting critical and ongoing efforts of our second graders,” Dees said.

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