Backpack food group teams with RHM to expand reach

Published 12:00 am Sunday, September 28, 2014

Two organizations are coming together to help children across Rowan County get access to quality food.
Food for Thought, which provides backpacks of food to schoolchildren who face food insecurity, will be using Rowan Helping Ministries’ new building to store food.
Before the partnership, Food for Thought did not have a centralized location to store food. Instead, 800 cases of food had to be picked up each month from Food Lion stores, which provide the food at wholesale prices, and distributed to 14 different church groups, according to Tory Curran, executive director of Food for Thought.
Now, Food Lion will deliver 11 pallets of food every two months to the Robertson-Stanback Center at the corner of East Liberty and North Long streets. The building opened in May and has 2,500 square feet of extra space in the lower level.
“This is really an exciting phase of our development,” Curran said.
The organization will now be able to expand its operations, she said. Currently, Food for Thought is helping 289 children in 14 of the 35 public schools in the Rowan-Salisbury School System.
The partnership with Rowan Helping Ministries began to develop last year, Curran said, when she was talking with Ministries Executive Director Kyna Grubb about the need for a centralized storage area for the program. Grubb proposed that Food for Thought use the space in the Robertson-Stanback Center once it opened.
Friday, the first load of pallets arrived.
Grubb said the building was designed with excess space for the purpose of partnering with other organizations that serve those in need in the community.
“It seemed like a great fit. We both are looking to help people and make sure people have food,” she said about the partnership with Food for Thought.
RHM provides a number of services, including sheltering and feeding the homeless.
Having a centralized location to store the food, Curran said, will allow new and larger volunteer groups to help put the food into backpacks and deliver them to children on Fridays. The food is for the children to have over the weekend, and they bring the empty packs back to school on Mondays.
Instead of having to deliver the food to each group, the groups will now come to the center and either fill the backpacks there or take the food back to their regular meeting place.
Curran said it’s all about making the process more efficient. Streamlining the system means more children can be helped, she said.
Food for Thought works with schools to identify children who are food insecure, meaning they’re not getting enough food or enough of the right types of food at home.
Federal statistics show 25 percent of children in Rowan County live in poverty, and Curran said statistics show a child’s diet, or lack of one, affects their ability to perform in school. If a child isn’t eating enough or eating healthily, chances are that child will struggle in school, she said.
Food for Thought started in 2008, and Curran said the cost to feed a child through the program is $250 a year. Anyone who wants to get involved can visit or email Curran at
For more information about Rowan Helping Ministries, visit