By Guest Blogger Gwen Frisbie-Fulton with Second Harvest Food Bank

When many of us think summer, we think summer food: hot dogs, popsicles, and watermelon.

However, across the Northwest North Carolina, one in every four children is facing food insecurity. This means that between rent and utilities, car payments and healthcare costs, sometimes their families don’t have enough left over to put adequate food on the table.

Unfortunately, these kids are at the greatest risk during the long summer months.  In nearly all of the 18 Northwest North Carolina counties that Second Harvest serves, more than half of all school children qualify for free or reduced priced meals at school. But when school gets out, those kids lose access to that nutrition. That is why Second Harvest Food Bank of Northwest North Carolina and our partners increase our distribution to families and open summer meal locations throughout the region.

5 Things Your Family Can Do to Fight Hunger

1. Volunteer

Volunteering as a family is fun! Second Harvest has over 450 partner pantries and many are volunteer run.  Some age restrictions may apply, but at Second Harvest families with children over the age of 12 are welcome to come help us sort donations, and the Food Bank Garden takes volunteers (with an adult ) of all ages.  Check out our list of partners to find a pantry near you and call them to get involved.

2. Collect Donations

Food banks are driven by donations. Collecting healthy, nutritious donations from your pantry or from the store can be lots of fun (make it a scavenger hunt!) and a good way to talk to your children about nutrition.  For a list of our most needed, healthy items click here.

3. Organize a Food Drive

At your church, in your neighborhood or at the summer camp, food drives are a great way to let others share in the giving. You can request a Second Harvest Food Bank donation box here. Our supporters are always coming up with fun and creative ways for their families to get involved: read a recent story here.

4. Advocate

Even the smallest voices can make a difference.  Kids instinctively know that hunger is wrong and they have something to say about it. Have your child write a letter, poem or draw a picture about hunger in their community and send it to us! We will feature it on our social media channels.

5. Host a lemonade stand

Every $1 donated to Second Harvest provides 7 meals to families in need, but our favorite dollars are the ones that come from children’s fundraisers.  We recently had two middle schoolers design and sell “Fight Hunger” t-shirts benefitting our work and had another little boy donate money from his birthday party for meals for kids.  Lemonade stands are a fun way for kids to get involved; they can remind their customers why their work is so necessary for kids just like them.  If your family is conducting a fundraiser for us, be sure to let us know!

*Sponsored by Second Harvest Food Bank