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Summer Food for Kids kicks off at Beach Food Pantry

Children are especially vulnerable to hunger during the summer break. That’s because the programs some families depend on, like free and reduced-price breakfasts and lunches during the school day and backpack programs during school-year weekends and holidays, do not provide services during the summer.

37.88% of Dare County Schools students are eligible to receive such assistance. Generally, 28% of the Beach Food Pantry clientele in 2018 were children.

Beach Food Pantry and their community partners believe that no child should ever have to go hungry, so they came together to create the Summer Food for Kids program in order to bridge the service gap.

Last year, the program served 86 school-age children from 41 families. This year, the goal is to register 100 families.

From mid-June to early-September, registered families will receive a weekly bag with kid-approved, nutritious food items. Many of the products are convenient for children to make themselves, in case parents are working and children are at home. Plans are being made to be able to expand the offerings of other healthy and nutritious foods, such as fresh fruits and vegetables.

Families of school-age children that qualify for free- and reduced-price school meals will be eligible and will be registered on a first-come, first-served basis until the goal of 100 families has been met. After that, a waiting list will be maintained to evaluate additional need and in case any families are no longer able to use their weekly bag.

Families must pre-register to participate. Registration began April 10 and will end on May 31.

Registrations will be accepted online at http://bit.ly/SummerKidsFood or at the Beach Food Pantry between 2-4 p.m., Monday-Friday. The Beach Food Pantry is located at 4007 North Croatan Highway in Kitty Hawk.

This program receives financial support provided by a community benefits grant from The Outer Banks Hospital and Vidant Health Foundation. Additional funding was provided by a community enrichment grant from the Outer Banks Community Foundation and a grant the Surf Pediatrics Foundation.

Volunteers are also crucial to this program and it could not exist without their help. A number of individuals from the Beach Food Pantry, the staff of Surf Pediatrics and Medicine and other community partners currently participate, but there is need for additional assistance.

Anyone with questions, needing more information or who would like to donate/volunteer should contact Elisabeth Silverthorne with the Beach Food Pantry at 252-261-2756.

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