‘It’s so worth it’: Food bank will deliver donations to kids through Santa Express program

‘It’s so worth it’: Food bank will deliver donations to kids through Santa Express program

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — For the sixth year, Second Harvest Food Bank of Metrolina and Walmart teamed up to become the Santa Express.

“The need, I’ve never seen it this high,” said Second Harvest CEO Kay Carter. “I’ve never seen this many requests for assistance.”

More than half a million people in our area are at risk of going hungry, according to Second Harvest. Many of those people are children.

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Over the next 10 days, Second Harvest will deliver packed boxes to more than 10,000 elementary students across 11 counties in North and South Carolina. Students will receive everything from fresh food and toiletries to socks and school supplies.

“We’re just trying to make the holidays a little brighter for these kids,” Carter said.

The food bank works with school districts to identify at-risk schools like the University Park Creative Arts school in Charlotte. Every student there qualifies for free breakfast and lunch.

School counselor Ebone Ellison said the donations will help tremendously.

“We have single parent homes, we have some whose family may be incarcerated or maybe they lost a parent,” Ellison said.

Because of the Covid-19 restrictions in place, the items can’t be delivered to individual classrooms. John Meighan is a driver and says it’s still his favorite time of year, even though it may look different this year.

“Just seeing these kids saying hi and thank you, it’s so worth it, so worth it,” he said.

With this act of kindness, the hope is to help these families end the year on a high note.

“I hope it makes whatever challenge that family is going through a little bit better and a little bit easier,” Carter said.

Participating counties in North Carolina include Mecklenburg, Rowan, Cabarrus, Montgomery, Anson, Rutherford, Cleveland, Gaston, Burke, and Lincoln. In South Carolina, the food bank will deliver to Lancaster, York, and Cherokee counties.

As holidays approach, food banks continue to see increase in demand