Each Friday, the load goes to feed Wake County’s youngest residents.
According to the Wake County Public School System, about half of the county's students rely on the free and reduced lunch program, and many of them go hungry on the weekends.
"I think people think of hunger, they think of Africa, Southeast Asia or Latin America,” said Kyle Abrams, Childhood Hunger Program manager of the Interfaith Food Shuttle. “They don't think in the Triangle, in their own community, a kid that their kid goes to school with."
That’s why the Interfaith Food Shuttle started its backpack buddies program. Every week, volunteers pack nutritious food into hundreds of bags that are distributed to students in need of a little hope.
In the past year, the program has fed about 2,000 kids with more than 68,000 packed bags.
On a recent Friday, workers made a delivery to Hope Elementary School in Raleigh and put the bags in the care of Taniyah Whitefield and Akeelah Curtis, two fifth-graders who make sure their classmates get the food. Seventy-two of the 116 students at the small charter school will take home the bags.
For many of the students at Hope elementary, Fridays are like Christmas morning. They scramble to claim their present – the bags of food that will tide them over for the weekend.
Curtis said her favorite part of the day is “bringing food to the children.”
"My favorite part is sending them to classrooms and seeing how so excited they are to get their food," she said.
Teacher Brittney Williamson said there is a definite need among the students. That’s why she started the schools' partnership with Backpack Buddies in January.
"As a teacher, you go home and you have food on the weekends. To see a child who doesn't have it, it's sad,” she said. “And you want to do something about it every chance you get."
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