Local Organizations Partner to Feed York County Children
As the school year was coming to a close, educators, nonprofit organizations and community leaders were asking: how will we respond to the increasing need for access to healthy foods of our most vulnerable children in York County? With the Impact York County coalition’s projects postponed due to the pandemic, members determined they could help meet this need.
Through collaboration and redirecting Healthy People Healthy Carolinas grant funding from the Duke Endowment, the Impact York County coalition is supporting two of the primary Summer Feeding Programs: York School District 1 (YSD1) and H.O.P.E. of Rock Hill. Both organizations were faced with potential funding shortfalls as they looked to meet increased demand caused by the pandemic.
H.O.P.E. Summer Feeding serves select Rock Hill parks and apartment complexes. YSD1 primarily serves the York School District #1 area of York County at its own sites and through partnerships. Through a partnership with YSD1, the Clover Area Assistance Center (CAAC) is distributing boxed meals to Clover-area kids, as well as bread, produce, and potentially one larger product such as peanut butter, a box of cereal, or canned meat, for the household, using CAAC resources.
Different from past years, YSD1 sites are offering “grab-n-go” meals, and a whole week’s worth of meals at once. This is because nationally, Summer Feeding Programs received waivers to allow for “no congregation” and “multiple feeding days.”
Within the first week of the Summer Feeding Programs in early June, both organizations experienced overwhelming response and surpassed the number of projected participants. Presently, approximately 3,000 York County youth are receiving meals through these programs. By underwriting costs through the Healthy People Healthy Carolinas grant, the Impact York County coalition helped ensure the success of the Summer Feeding Programs and provide sustainability for future outreach.
Impact York County recognizes that children receiving snacks and meals through the Summer Feeding Program may have younger siblings, parents or elderly family members in the home experiencing food disparity. Therefore, the coalition recently distributed 500 fresh food boxes in the Saluda area of Rock Hill and is currently working on additional opportunities to provide food boxes containing items from local farmers and providers. Since the coalition’s mission is to improve the health and wellness of the communities throughout York County, educational and resource information also will be included in the food boxes.