By Ashton Tippins, Executive Director, TABLE
For many children, being hungry is only a temporary feeling. When they are hungry, they simply open their refrigerator or look in the pantry to find something to eat and their hunger is alleviated. But, what happens when there isn’t anything fresh in the refrigerator or healthy in the pantry to satisfy those hunger pains?
Unfortunately, for 1 in 4 children in the U.S., this is their reality. Food insecurity is widespread, affecting children across the United States from small rural communities to large urban cities. In our local area in North Carolina, 20 percent of kids struggle with hunger, not knowing when their next meal will be, or from where it will come.
“In our local area in North Carolina, 20 percent of kids struggle with hunger.”
Food insecurity can mean that parents have to make tough choices about what to put on their children’s plates. Rather than trying new fruits and vegetables, parents are going to make sure every dollar spent at the grocery store goes to something they already know will be eaten. And, often, the food they are able to purchase may not be as nutritionally balanced or as fresh as they would like.
In the face of such numbers, TABLE was founded in 2008 to provide healthy and nutritious food to children. We now serve up to 800 children each week, distributing 8,000 meals and snacks directly to children’s homes. With a small staff, we rely on nearly 100 volunteers every week who organize food, assemble bags and deliver them to the kids we serve, travelling to 425 homes every week. Why? Because we know there are names, faces, and lives behind each of those numbers.
“We now serve up to800 children each week,
distributing 8,000 meals and snacks directly to children’s homes.”
How does it work?
Many of the children who receive food from TABLE are part of the subsidized school meal program which is immensely helpful to these children. When COVID hit, we had to pivot our programming from school delivery to individual home delivery, a massive change for our operations. We are pleased that with this change, our hunger relief program TABLE@Home now serves fresh, healthy food directly to children’s homes year-round, ensuring more consistent service for children already uncertain about their next meal.
TABLE’s bags include 10 meals and snacks that consist of healthy non-perishables and fresh food. Our bags contain 50% more food per child than before the pandemic with 87% of that increase being in fresh food. We also include recipes and fun nutrition education information about healthy eating and nutritious food.
Real Families, Real Impact
According to a survey conducted among the families we serve, nearly 90% of respondents stated that receiving a weekly bag of food from TABLE helps to ease a financial burden on their family, while 66% said food from TABLE was more nutritious than they would otherwise be able to provide their child.
“I cannot thank you enough. I didn’t even realize how much we were compromising
our nutrition until we started eating so much better.” – TABLE recipient
By supporting TABLE’s mission to deliver healthy food and nutrition education to local children, you are helping TABLE to improve children’s overall health, ensure kids have access to and eat sufficient nutritious food, increase their knowledge of nutrition, and develop positive attitudes toward healthy eating.
Together we can make a profound impact in the lives of the children and families TABLE serves and ensure they are receiving the nutritious food they need and deserve and the knowledge to live healthier lives.