Snow days mean hungry nights for some in Triangle
Posted February 26, 2015
Raleigh, N.C. — For many area children, schools closing because of winter weather means they will miss some meals.
In Wake County alone, 38 percent of public school students receive free or reduced-price lunches at their schools.
Snow and icy roads closed most Triangle schools and their cafeterias four days last week. Many were closed again on Tuesday, and Wednesday night's storm has again cut needy children off from more free or low-cost meals.
Terri Foley, program director for Catholic Parish Outreach, said Thursday that she fears low-income families may be running low on food.
"Their options are very slim. I suspect that they're going for that last can or two of soup," Foley said. "Hopefully, they're going to their neighbors, and neighbors are getting together and sharing food with each other."
The food charity programs that schools largely depend upon have also been closed in recent days because of the weather, leaving many families with few options.
"Our volunteers can't get in. That's the biggest problem," Foley said. "It takes 40 volunteers every day to run our food pantry."
Catholic food charities serve more than 10,000 people a month every month.
"We gave out about 4.2 million pounds of food last year," Foley said.
The Inter-Faith Food Shuttle's Back-Pack Buddies program serves more than 1,800 children at 55 school sites in seven area counties.
Local food pantries provided groceries to many families on Monday, before this week's twin storms struck, and Foley said Catholic Parish Outreach saw a larger-than-average crowd.
Pantries will need more donations – and more volunteers to help with the demand – to provide food to needy families once roads are clear and schools reopen, she said.