When Hurricane Florence hit the Southeast U.S. in September 2018, it caused an estimated $17 billion in damage in North Carolina alone. Roads and buildings were demolished, including many schools. That meant thousands of kids could not get the meals they so desperately need at school.
No Kid Hungry quickly granted funds to three school districts in North Carolina to help rebuild their kitchens and get their meal service back up and running during a time when students needed healthy meals the most. Here is an update on those grants.
- Jones County School District, a rural district in eastern North Carolina, lost two entire schools in the storm. Students were rerouted to existing schools, which did not have enough cafeteria equipment to serve the influx of students with a variety of menu options. No Kid Hungry’s grant funds purchased new refrigerators for the remaining schools so they can provide more fresh fruits and vegetables to their students.
- More than 1,000 students in Craven County School district, home to the 2018 State Principal of the Year Tabari Wallace, were displaced after the storm. Schools were damaged and much of the district’s kitchen equipment was destroyed in floods. They are using No Kid Hungry’s grant to purchase a new oven to provide more hot food items to students.
- Pamlico Middle School in Pamlico County was heavily damaged in the storm. The school is using No Kid Hungry’s funds to buy a new refrigerator and freezer and replace electrical units that were damaged due to flooding. Pamlico is a very rural county and the school district is the largest employer. As they wrote on their grant application, “Pamlico County Schools has been instrumental in providing a quality school food service program since opening. Although small, the determination to feed hungry kids has been consistent. The staff team in food service consist of mothers, aunties and friends who know each child’s name. Having a real one-on-one relationship with our students afforded additional outreach services and networking benefits. Pamlico County Schools food service is proud of their services to students.”
We know that rebuilding efforts continue today and that the impacts from Hurricane Florence will be felt for years to come, but thanks to the hard work of these educators and school nutrition professionals, and countless others, kids in North Carolina are getting the healthy food they need at school.