“It’s easy to forget that in this first-world country, 25 percent of kids don’t know where their next meal is coming from,” said Barbara Astrini, Motion Graphic Designer. “Volunteering should become a regular thing in our days, and we should be part of a greater solution. It’s hard to think of where to start, but this is a perfect way to do so.”
BackPack Buddies, an Inter-Faith Food Shuttle program, is committed to meeting the needs of food-insecure homes. But they can’t do it without donations and volunteers.
“Hunger is a greater problem than people realize. It has lasting effects on people’s health, ability to learn, ability to work and their stress levels,” said Lindsay Saunders, Junior Content Strategist. “Helping with people’s food resources saves them money and alleviates their worries, especially when they’re simply trying to make it through each day.”
Eighteen Centerliners spent their 100+100 day joining BackPack Buddies’ fight to end hunger in the Triangle. In an assembly-line fashion, the group packaged bags of meals and healthy snacks – including fruits and vegetables from local farms. These bags provide six meals and two snacks for kids at the end of every week – enough food for an entire weekend. They also packed bags of packaged meals, which they then delivered to the individuals at a local senior living community.
“I think the concept of redistributing food leftover from local grocery stores to children and seniors who suffer from hunger is a great thing,” said Nikki Gusse, Project Coordinator. “Seeing the gratitude on people’s faces and interacting with them was really rewarding.”
“Delivering the grocery bags to seniors was the most important part of the day,” said Jen Hubbard, Graphic Designer. “It was nice to visit the people receiving the items our team had spent the morning putting together.”
The volunteers are hoping that their contribution will help the organization exceed the count of last school year – BackPack Buddies served 1,850 children. This added up to 68,450 backpacks of groceries at 55 sites in seven counties.
“Ultimately, it’s about connecting to people and meeting needs in our community, and it was great to see how different groups in the Triangle are working together to fight hunger,” said Paige Taylor, Project Manager. “While we were there, I witnessed a few drop-offs from different faith-based organizations, and was able to learn more about all the initiatives that the InterFaith Food Shuttle is able to execute (including BackPack Buddies, growing food on their farm, Grocery Bags for Seniors, etc.) through collective, community support. This organization is really making an impact on the hunger issue in our community, and I’m looking forward to continuing to give my time there.”