North Carolina Guardian ad Litem program, community partner to help food banks

Published 9:34 am Wednesday, April 4, 2018

The North Carolina Guardian ad Litem program in Judicial District 1, in collaboration with the Dare County Health Department, Dare County Friends of Youth, Dare County Center, Kitty Hawk UMC Seekers Class and Kitty Hawk UMC Colington Small Group, recently launched a food drive to collect plastic jars of peanut butter and jelly for local food pantries.

In initiating the campaign, the North Carolina GAL program was inspired by the life and works of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., the group said in a news release.

“We are joining others in our nation in a project that honors his example of service to others. NC GAL District 1 surpassed its goal of 100 jars and distributed the collected items to several food pantries during the week of Dr. Martin Luther King’s birthday in January 2018,” the release said.

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Why peanut butter and jelly? Peanut butter is a staple all food banks need. The group added jelly “because we were all once children, and we fondly remember peanut butter and jelly sandwiches as a staple of a happy childhood.”

A Hunger in America 2014 study completed by Feeding America estimates that food banks are now providing emergency food for an estimated 59,200 different people in any given week. Additionally:

• 50 percent of those served by the food banks are children and seniors

• 55 percent of households include at least one adult who has not been employed within the last year

• 21 percent of households include grandparents who have responsibility for grandchildren

• 77 percent of households report having to choose between paying for medicine or groceries

Food insecurity remains a serious problem in North Carolina. More than 651,000 people struggle to access nutritious and adequate amounts of food necessary for an active and healthy life, the news release said.

The pb&j effort is the second state-wide service project undertaken by the staff, volunteers, friends and supporters of NC GAL.

“The NC GAL program represents the best interest of neglected/abused children in court. Much of the work we do is confidential in nature. Therefore, our work is largely unknown outside of the court rooms,” the group said in its release. “This project is a way for us to engage with many of our community partners, help with provisioning local food banks, and also highlight the important work our volunteers do.”

The District 1 NC GAL program thanks the many generous donors who made the project a success.