WNC Youth’s Mission to End Hunger
Kids love to help out. It’s in their nature. When they see family or friends who are upset, they do what they can to cheer them up, because they want those around them to be happy – they want to be a solution to the problem.
At MANNA, that is no different.
This past year, children comprised roughly 28% of all MANNA volunteers and volunteered nearly 5,000 hours of their time to help us in the fight against hunger. Ranging in age from preschool to high school, WNC’s youth have been a constant ally in our efforts to achieve a hunger-free WNC.
When children and teenagers show up with their schools and youth groups to volunteer, there are a wide variety of projects they undertake. Middle and high school age students often sort and repackage items, while going through food drive items and boxing them up for distribution. Preschool and elementary age children typically help bag apples or potatoes, box up cereal and place stickers on items for distribution.
Prior to their volunteer shift, volunteers of all ages are given a brief hunger talk by one of our staff members, who explains the need for food that exists in WNC. In our region, 1 in 6 adults are hungry. When you look at children, that number becomes 1 in 4. While this information is news to a lot of our volunteers, some of the children volunteering are all too familiar with the reality that this number represents. They understand that 1 in 4 children are real people that they encounter in their life as peers, friends and family.
Occasionally, some of the food they help prepare for distribution are MANNA Packs – bags of food given out to children throughout the 16 counties of WNC who are unsure where their food is coming from on weekends and throughout the summer when they’re no longer in school. MANNA Packs are one of the ways we try to ensure kids in our community are being fed year-round.
Whether they’ve just began preschool or are about to graduate high school, children and teenagers are instrumental in our fight to unite and end hunger in our region. We simply would not be able to reach the amount of people we are able to without their efforts.