In Features

Feeding Children on the Weekends

In just two hours on a hot, humid Friday morning, over 65 volunteers assembled under the shade of the Pavilion at Durham Central Park to pack 1,000 weekend meal bags for hungry children in our community. Volunteers came out to help us complete this project for our annual Day of Action—a nationwide event in which every United Way organizes and executes a service project.

These volunteers wound their way through the pavilion following an assembly line, placing oatmeal packets, spaghetti and meatballs, pears, granola bars, juice, raisins, tuna, shelf safe milk, ramen noodles, yellow corn, and green beans in all 1,000 bags, as well as literacy kits in 625 of the bags. As the bags were completed, they were placed in a truck to be delivered to 250 children at four Durham elementary schools. Because of the work done by volunteers during Day of Action, these children are guaranteed an entire month of weekend meals—from dinner on Friday night through dinner on Sunday night.

“We had really energetic volunteers,” said Natasha Wayne, community engagement and special events manager. “They came as groups from Target, Principal Financial, Arysta LifeScience, Bank of America, Blue Cross Blue Shield of North Carolina, and Nationwide Insurance. We also had individuals volunteer—and a few parents even brought their young children to help. Everyone came ready to roll up their sleeves to make a difference for children in Durham.”

Our Day of Action project is part of a larger initiative to combat childhood hunger in the four counties in which we work—Wake, Orange, Johnston, and Durham. The childhood hunger initiative began when we looked at the staggering statistics— on a given night 1 in every 5 kids or over 100,000 children in our four county area are hungry.

We partnered with Inter-Faith Food Shuttle to distribute the 1,000 weekend meal bags to children who receive free or reduced lunch and may go without enough food during the weekend.

If you are interested in giving some of your time to the community, please check our volunteer site for current opportunities.

See our volunteers in action in this photo gallery.