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NC Food for Thought, Rodney Power big winners

A program that encourages children to get good nutrition and exercise benefitted from a drawing Thursday at Outdoor Power Equipment in Salisbury.
The big event of a daylong customer appreciation celebration was a raffle drawing for a Scag Tiger Cat Zero Turn Mower, with other prizes, including a Stihl chain saw and blower. Raffle tickets were sold for $50 each, with all proceeds donated to the N.C. Food for Thought Program.
The program through Eat Smart, Move More allows educators to work with students in kindergarten through fifth grade, teaching them nutritional basics and how to incorporate exercise into their daily lives. Educators mix concepts of healthy eating into math and language arts classes while encouraging healthy lifestyles.
N.C. Food for Thought is a part of a seven-year state plan to reduce childhood obesity.
“This program provides free or reduced school meals locally, as well as the backpack program,” Lindsay Starrett of Outdoor Power Equipment said. “Qualified children are sent home on Friday afternoons with a backpack of food, making sure that they will have food to last till Monday morning.”
The food is shelf-stable and easy to prepare. Children can easily prepare the food without the assistance of adults. Fresh fruit is included.
In Rowan County, nearly one in four children live in poverty.
School groups, Sunday School classes, student governments and other volunteers gather and sort the food. The schools are responsible for identifying students in need and then discreetly giving filled backpacks to the children on the way out of school on Friday afternoon. The backpacks are then collected on Monday morning to again start the process. The student’s privacy is protected at all times.
Eat Smart, Move More has programs and tools available for professionals, advocates and community leaders to target family, community, health care, workplace and faith.
Owner Trish Starrett and the staff at Outdoor Power Equipment also support Winterbloom, a program that allows county high school students to participate in accredited leadership programs. This educational opportunity for students will prepare them for roles as community leaders.
Rodney Power, owner of Kut-Rite Lawn Care of Salisbury, won the raffle drawing.
“I’m more than a little shocked!” Power said. “We’ll put the mower straight to work.”
He was grateful to the Starretts and Outdoor Power Equipment for helping him get a start in business. Power added, “They helped me buy my first mower when I was 25 and I have been doing business with them for 20 years since.” Power currently has a staff of 14 working year-round in lawn care and landscaping.
James Johnson won the Stihl MS 170 chain saw and Monty Bruce won the Stihl BG 55 blower.
Joe Overby of LaSalle Bristol didn’t win the drawings but was glad to see the large turnout. He said, “We do a lot of business with Outdoor Power. We have for years. It is great to see the proceeds from these ticket sales benefit a local charity. My hot dog didn’t get cold either.”
Lindsay Starrett called the day a big success with $1,000 donated to N.C. Food for Thought and lots of customers on hand. Power added another $250 donation to N.C. Food for Thought after winning the mower.
More information on N.C. Food for Thought and contact information can be found at www.ncfoodforthought.org.

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