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Stanbacks’ gift enhances, expands Food for Thought

Food for Thought

Food for Thought, a local nonprofit organization that provides weekend meals to food-insecure school children in Rowan County, has received a generous donation from Fred and Alice Stanback to both enhance the nutritional quality of the food and serve more children in need.

“Children who are food-insecure experience uncertain access to nutritious foods and are at risk for health problems such as obesity. So the quality of the food in our backpacks has always remained a high priority for our organization,” Tory Curran, executive director of Food for Thought, said in a news release. “With this generous gift from Mr. and Mrs. Stanback, Food for Thought can deepen that commitment to offering healthy options while continuing to expand our reach to serve more children in need.”

Currently, all the children in the program receive a variety of high-quality, non-perishable foods each weekend including a fresh orange or apple.  Thanks to the Stanbacks’ gift, as of February, all children will receive fresh, local sweet potatoes from Barbee Farms in Concord. Children will receive step-by-step instructions with pictures about how to safely cook the sweet potatoes in the microwave. 

“As a family farm in continuous operation for over 100 years, Barbee Farms is pleased to partner with Food for Thought,” said Brent Barbee, of Barbee Farms. “It is our goal to provide our fresh produce to as many children and families as possible, so this is a wonderful collaboration for us. “

Food for Thought is also switching out some of its snacks for healthier options.  For example, children will now receive raisins in lieu of microwave popcorn.

Erin Wood, professor of psychology at Catawba College, is a board member of Food for Thought.

“As a member of the board of directors, as well as an educator, a researcher and a mother, it’s crucially important to me that we use the avenue that Food for Thought has already constructed to these children, in the best way we possibly can,” Wood said. “With this incredibly generous gift from Mr. and Mrs. Stanback, we are taking advantage of current nutritional knowledge to not only fill bellies, but also to engage the brains of these children so they can arrive Monday morning ready to soak up what their classrooms, teachers and classmates offer.”

In addition to enhancing the quality of the food, the Stanback gift provided additional funds to expand the number of children served. With these funds, and generous community support from all corners of Salisbury and Rowan County — including local foundations, ecumenical and community groups, and individual and business donors — Food for Thought is now providing healthy weekend meals to more than 300 children in 16 schools in Rowan County.  The program has more than doubled the number of children it has served since 2012. Dedicated volunteers throughout Rowan County are now packing and delivering more than 1,200 backpacks each month during the academic year.

For more information or to make a donation, you can go to www.ncfoodforthought.org

Food for Thought’s mission is to provide nutritious weekend meals to food-insecure children in the Rowan-Salisbury Schools through the creation of local coalitions working together to improve the community.

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