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WS/FCS Developing Partnership with H.O.P.E. of Winston-Salem
July 6, 2022 - H.O.P.E. of Winston-Salem is on a mission to keep our community’s children fed, and it’s a mission that Winston-Salem/Forsyth County Schools is more than happy to support.
H.O.P.E., which stands for Help Our People Eat!, is a non-profit organization that provides healthy food to children and families in need in Winston-Salem. Volunteers gather to assemble meals, fruits and vegetables and distribute them on the weekends, providing about 1,000 meals and 2,500 lbs. of produce per week. H.O.P.E. says that Winston-Salem and North Carolina as a whole have higher than average rates of food insecurity among children, and free and reduced lunch programs in schools are vital to keeping those children fed, so H.O.P.E. is an essential stopgap for many families during weekends and summer break.
“When school lets out, we want to make sure that kids still have access to enough nutritious food,” said H.O.P.E. Executive Director Scott Best.
H.O.P.E. is not only a key source of food for local families, but also a key source of education. Children and families try new foods they never would have encountered without visiting H.O.P.E., and they learn recipes that promote healthy living long after their visit. They’re also exceptionally mindful of safety with food allergies – Development Director Tyler Beyea lost a child to an undiscovered food allergy, and now she and the rest of the organization are dedicated to keeping all the food they serve completely allergen free.
“We want to be safe with the food that we serve,” Beyea said. “It has to be safe for everybody.”
WS/FCS’ Community Engagement Team is currently working alongside H.O.P.E. to see if they can help them coordinate volunteers over the summer. Volunteers are the lifeblood of any non-profit and keeping students safe and fed when school is not in session is a cause close to educators’ hearts. Volunteer Services Coordinator Terry Matthews says that H.O.P.E. encourages families to take ownership over their own health, a goal that the school system shares.
“H.O.P.E. WS provides healthy food to our neighbors who have limited access to vital resources,” Matthews said. “H.O.P.E. provides equity and accessibility, which are two key factors in helping families to thrive”
Whatever the future holds for a partnership between WS/FCS and H.O.P.E., community organizations have their eyes on child food insecurity, and there’s plenty of work to be done to address the problem.
“We’re all working for the same thing,” said WS/FCS Business Partnership Coordinator Javier Correa-Vega. “We’re working for our families and our kids.”
(336) 727-8213 Ext. 70545