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CORA requests that Chatham County fund $27,500 for SNACK program

Posted Thursday, June 7, 2012

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Siler City, NC - Rebecca Borchard of Greensboro, NC, presented her comments to the Chatham County Board of Comissioners during a May 22 budget hearing in Siler City and provided them in their entirety for the record as follows:

“My name is Rebecca Borchard. I’m the project coordinator of CORA’s SNACK program (Summer Nutritional Assistance for Chatham Kids), and I am here to speak on behalf of this program.

Over 4,000 children in Chatham County receive free or reduced breakfast and lunch during the school year (50% of school children). This is a wonderful resource to many families during the school year, but what happens during the summer? How do these families find additional money and resources to feed their children during the 10 weeks of summer?

This is where SNACK steps in and helps provide much needed food assistance during the summer months when food resources are scarce for families. Each child registered for the program receives a box of food containing 5 breakfasts and 5 lunches each week of the summer. This year these items include milk, juice, vegetables, tuna, chicken, cereal, grits, and fresh fruit.

We could not provide this much needed food resource without the help of community partnerships. Chatham County is a rural area and we know transportation is a challenge for many families. To help combat this problem, we have partnered with 16 local community organizations that serve as distribution locations throughout the county where families can go to pick up their weekly food box. These include churches, health centers, food pantry’s, and community organizations. We also partner with Chatham Trades, who stores, packs, and delivers the weekly food boxes. The school system helps us get the information about the program to families and this year we held registration meetings at local schools. Without the help of these organizations and volunteers (mostly), we would not be able to reach as many children as we do. This program is truly unique in that it pulls community organizations together to work for a common cause!

As of today, CORA has enrolled 1050 students in the SNACK program, with 50 on a waiting list. This is the first year we have had to implement a waiting list. The only things holding us back from supporting all of these children is funding! With rising food costs, our program costs continue to increase. This year, we anticipate that each box of food will cost $13. CORA is requesting the county fund the SNACK program at $27,500. This funding will help feed 211 children for the entire summer. Please help us support the children registered for this program and to reach out to those currently on the waitlist. I would love to give those families a call letting them know they will be receiving this much needed supplemental food and nutrition for their children! Increase our funding and you help send Chatham Kids back to school with full bellies so they can focus on their education and not where their next meal will come from! Thank you for your time.”

When asked by Commissioner Cross, Ms. Borchard stated that the school system did not provide assistance. They are strictly funded by grants and private donations.

Commissioner Stewart asked if the food was provided to each child in a family. Ms. Borchard replied, yes. Each family can register as long as the children are between ages 5 and 18 and receiving free or reduced school lunches. A child can receive WIC until the age of 5 years.

Lynda Smith, SNACK Program Manager at First United Methodist Church, Siler City, NC, stated that last year was their first year in which they served 125 children. This year they will have 150 children. The program is very meaningful to the children, especially the fresh fruit and the families come from a wide range of people. She stated that they asked for 15 volunteers at church and they had 40 show up. She asked the Board to find funding for this program.

Chairman Bock stated that he agrees that the SNACK Program is vital. He stated that he contacted WalMart this morning and spoke with their senior manager for public and government affairs and was told that this is the type of thing they fund. He stated that he asked if they would be willing to help with the SNACK Program. He stated that she didn’t know, but that there are programs available from the local and national store levels. He stated that they sounded positive and are continuing to work on this program.

Commissioner Stewart stated that a lot of corporate social responsibility programs are centered around this type of thing. She stated that she felt it was a great thing to approach some of the larger corporations in Chatham County. Many times, just asking, they will be willing to contribute something to the cause back to the community.

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