This past Saturday was the kind of day you dream about. Especially if your name is William Winslow (a.k.a. “The Food Drive Kid”). The sun was shining. A gentle breeze was blowing. And grocery shoppers were generously reaching into their wallets – and grocery carts – to support Inter-Faith Food Shuttle’s BackPack Buddies program.
For the 3rd straight year, 9-year-old William and his family set aside a spring day to collect food and funds for BackPack Buddies. This year over 150 volunteers joined in, and the results were impressive. Early totals Monday morning yielded approximately 9,000 pounds of food and $8,600! By Wednesday afternoon, generous online donors had pushed William's total past $10,000.
"If no one did this, there would be a world full of hungry kids,” William told WTVD over the weekend.
United by orange t-shirts, and a belief that no child should be hungry on the weekends, William’s team tabled outside 11 locations in Raleigh and Cary (5 Food Lions, 5 Harris Teeters, and The Flying Biscuit Café) from 8 a.m. – 4 p.m.
Each location had a jar to collect monetary donations and several boxes for food donations. In a savvy move, volunteers handed out lists of needed food items to shoppers as they entered the grocery stores, encouraging them to purchase something extra off the list to donate on their way out.
The day got off to a strong start when Food Lion Feeds donated 1,200 pounds of food to William at their Avent Ferry Road location in Raleigh. That generous gesture, combined with the hundreds (if not thousands) of donors who also contributed, proved once again that when communities and corporations come together, hunger loses.
The food drive was alive online as well as on the ground, with volunteers tweeting, posting, and sharing using the hashtag #TFDK2015. William himself used social media to share updates throughout the day, and also to thank everyone involved with this video:
— The Food Drive Kid (@thefooddrivekid) April 18, 2015
William’s goals for his 2015 food drive were 5,000 pounds of food and $10,000 dollars. If you would like to contribute to his totals, you can make a donation online here.
The need is real, even in the Greater Triangle. Fresh data released this month by Feeding America reveals 271, 970 North Carolinians are food insecure just in the 7 counties served by Inter-Faith Food Shuttle. That includes 21.2% of children in Chatham, Durham, Edgecombe, Johnston, Nash, Orange, & Wake Counties. Statewide, 1-in-4 children face the daily anxiety of not knowing where their next meal will come from.
In our 7 counties alone, nearly 116,000 children applied for free or reduced price lunch for the 2012-2013 school year (the most recent data available). That’s 43% of the student body. BackPack Buddies helps by sending hungry students home on Fridays with a backpack containing 6 healthy meals, plus 2 snacks, so they can return to school Monday morning nourished, and ready to learn.
IFFS currently packs just under 2,000 backpacks each week. But sadly, the need continues to outpace our supply. That can change with people like William rising to the occasion.
Since William started holding food drives for BackPack Buddies three years ago, he has collected almost 14,000 pounds of food and over $19,000. If you would like to keep up with The Food Drive Kid, you can follow him on Twitter or Facebook, or visit his website www.thefooddrivekid.org.
— Trish W (@Tdub_Hokie) April 18, 2015
By Lindsay Humbert, IFFS Digital Media Specialist. Contact: Lindsay@FoodShuttle.org