Atrium Health Expands Summer Food Programs to Address Food Insecurity

06.25.2021 Atrium Health News

CHARLOTTE, N.C., June, 25, 2021 - It’s a sad and unfortunate statistic: one in five children in North Carolina face hunger.* As part of its commitment to addressing food insecurity throughout the Charlotte region, Atrium Health is continuing to offer summer nutrition programs in Mecklenburg, Union, Cabarrus, Lincoln and Stanly counties. This is the 5th year Atrium Health has been involved in the program, with nearly 50,000 meals served to those in need.

During the school year, many students rely on nutritious meals served through the School Breakfast Program, National School Lunch Program and Afterschool Meals Program. However, meals are still needed for children who may not have a dependable source of food available during the summer months.

Atrium Health is partnering with food suppliers Sodexo and Morrison Healthcare to participate in the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Summer Food Service Program, providing free, healthy meals for anyone age 18 and younger. Meals will be distributed during drive-thru events at Atrium Health - University City, Atrium Health - Union, Atrium Health - Cabarrus and Atrium Health - Stanly, now through August 20. Meals will be served between 11 a.m. and 1 p.m., or while supplies last. For the first time, Atrium Health - Cabarrus is partnering with Covenant Presbyterian Church, in Kannapolis, as a distribution site for the “Kids Eat Free” program in Cabarrus County.

As part of its commitment to addressing food insecurity throughout the Charlotte region, Atrium Health is continuing to offer summer nutrition programs in Mecklenburg, Union, Cabarrus, Lincoln and Stanly counties.

“Atrium Health is fortunate to have partners across the region, such as Covenant Presbyterian Church, to help deliver fresh, healthy food to the children who need it,” said Asha Rodriguez, vice president and facility executive at Atrium Health - Cabarrus. “In the program’s first four years, nearly 50,000 meals have been served, helping to ensure area children continue to receive balanced nutrition each day, which is essential to promoting growth, cognitive development and healthy eating habits all summer long.”

Atrium Health’s Summer Food Bus will deliver free meals provided by Lincoln County Schools to those age 18 and younger, Monday through Friday, through August 6. Each day, children will receive a to-go bag with their lunch and also breakfast items for the following morning. On Fridays, children will receive meals for the day and additional meals for the weekend.

Atrium Health - Union will help supplement Union County Public Schools’ summer feeding program schedule by providing curbside meals from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m., July 6 - 9, and also from August 9 - 20.

Stanly County Schools is partnering with Atrium Health to provide meals July 5 - 8, and August 16 - 19, from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m., at the corner of North Second Street and Hawthorne Avenue located on the campus of Atrium Health - Stanly.

“Atrium Health is proud to continue supporting our families in need during the pandemic,” said Lois Ingland, vice president of community engagement and corporate responsibility for Atrium Health. “We know the best way to stay protected against COVID-19 and end the pandemic is to get vaccinated. To that end, Atrium Health is now offering COVID-19 vaccinations for anyone 12 and older at food distribution sites. Increasing access to food and health care are two things we know are critical to living a healthy life.”

New to the program this year, Atrium Health has two AmeriCorps summer associates, in partnership with HungerFree America, who will be helping with the “Kids Eat Free” programs. These workers will be onsite at different pickup locations, helping to ensure food gets into the hands and bellies of those in our community who need it most.

In order to observe appropriate social distancing practices to help ensure the safety of the children, their families and those helping them, all meals will be provided in bags passed through the window or placed in the trunk of the car as a recipient is driven through the pick-up line. All program teammates will be wearing appropriate personal protective equipment.

North Carolina Summer Food Service Programs are administered by the North Carolina Department of Public Instruction and School Nutrition Services Section, with federal funds from the U.S. Department of Agriculture. The programs are designed to prevent students from going hungry when school is not in session by providing free, healthy meals for children, age 18 years and under.

*Source- Feeding America 

About Atrium Health

Atrium Health is a nationally recognized leader in shaping health outcomes through innovative research, education and compassionate patient care. Atrium Health is an integrated, nonprofit health system with nearly 70,000 teammates serving patients at 37 hospitals and more than 1,350 care locations. It provides care under the Wake Forest Baptist Health name in the Winston-Salem, North Carolina, region and Atrium Health Navicent in Georgia. Atrium Health is renowned for its top-ranked pediatric, cancer and heart care, as well as organ transplants, burn treatments and specialized musculoskeletal programs. A recognized leader in experiential medical education and groundbreaking research, Wake Forest School of Medicine is the academic core of the enterprise, including Wake Forest Innovations, which is advancing new medical technologies and biomedical discoveries. Atrium Health is also a leading-edge innovator in virtual care and mobile medicine, providing care close to home and in the home. Ranked among U.S. News & World Report’s Best Hospitals for cancer treatment and in eight pediatric specialties, Atrium Health has also received the American Hospital Association’s Quest for Quality Prize and was the recipient of the 2020 Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services Health Equity Award for its efforts to reduce racial and ethnic disparities in care. With a commitment to every community it serves, Atrium Health seeks to improve health, elevate hope and advance healing – for all, providing more than $2 billion per year in free and uncompensated care and other community benefits.