You can sign up by clicking here here or by calling Sharon Lochaby, our volunteer coordinator, at 704-608-2523.
WE ARE CHANGING AND EXPANDING OUR MINISTRY. WHAT MAKES THIS FEEDING THE CHILDREN PLUS?
Good questions to ask and we invite you to continue reading to understand the changes.
This fall the Service and Missions committee took the opportunity to evaluate the effectiveness of the program and its sustainability. Eighteen families who had participated in our program for at least 2 years were polled to gather feedback. Our findings were this:
*The families need food
* The families desire food the children will eat. We discovered many of our customary food items were not being consumed and we had significant food waste.
*Whether the food was hot or not was not important to the parents. They need food.We also talked to volunteers and coordinators of each area of our program and they shared the same opinion.
*With Gaston County schools changing the school calendar to include a longer Christmas break, it put a huge strain on securing the adequate number of volunteers to run the program. Particularly, in delivering the food. The committee concluded the extended break which required so many volunteers was not sustainable for years to come.
*Sharon Lochably our route coordinator and lead in this program, talked with the leads at the backpack food ministry for Gaston County and Child Nutrition for Gaston County Schools to find out which food suggestions they had for nutritious food, children will consume. Keith Moore our lead cook talked with the cafeteria manager at North Belmont Elementary. We learned much from them. We also looked into different food suppliers to help us set up accounts where we could secure large quantities of food at the best price.
*After securing all this information our goal became to redesign the program in an effort to get MORE food into the homes the children or family members will eat, and not be as volunteer intensive during the holiday when many people are traveling and unable to serve.
Feeding the Children PLUS+
Will deliver a hot meal to homes on Mondays and Thursdays. When the lunch is delivered additional pre-packed bags of food will go with it. So a lunch and 2 bags of food per child will be delivered to the home on Monday, while a lunch and 1 bag of food per child will be delivered on Thursday. Included in the pre-packed grocery bags will be snacks, breakfast and lunch/dinner options for the child. The bags will include heat and serve food items which the children are accustomed to preparing at home.
Why is the program a PLUS+?
Parents liked the fact they would be getting more food delivered to their homes. Since this food will be shelf stable, it doesn’t have to be consumed immediately but can be saved for later consumption when needed.
*A plus, because we will be providing food children prefer, yet will still have nutritional value. Less food waste and less styrofoam in the landfill.
*A plus because it opens MORE opportunities for volunteers to serve outside the hours of the mornings during the holidays. Groups and individuals can sign up to help pack groceries for families weeks prior to our delivery dates.
If you would like to serve with us click HERE
The service and missions committee will continue to evaluate the program and our effectiveness. We welcome your input and feedback as we move forward with our attempt to provide more food to the children in our community.