From the Mouths of Babes to the Mouths of the Hungry

by Ilinap on November 20, 2017

North Carolina is facing a crisis. Our childhood hunger rates hover around 1 in 3 or 1 in 4, depending on the county. That’s higher than the national average. There are amazing people and organizations in the trenches of government making sense of policy and legislation to ensure we leverage every penny of funding available. There are those fighting to ensure the funding doesn’t get cut. And there are teachers and non-profits working tirelessly to get meals into the hands (well, mouths) of students in our community. I support and applaud their efforts.
I want to draw attention to one nimble little organization helping feed hungry kids at my neighborhood elementary school, the Cecilia Rawlins Fund. This scrappy organization started with a group of moms, as so many great things do. After many forks in the road, dead ends, and road blocks, we persisted. Now the CRF provides Backpack Buddies to about 30 kids a week and pays one-time rent and utility bills for families in financial crisis. Our little non-profit is making a big difference.


I asked my sons to share their impressions of the Cecilia Rawlins Fund. They have been entrenched in this as volunteers and as peers of kids who benefit from the Backpack Buddies program. As we enter into the holiday season and this day of giving thanks, I hope my sons’ words inspire you to make a donation of any amount.


Bird – age 14, loves basketball, traveling, and reading:

“Backpack Buddies helps many children in my community. My mom, along with other parents, started this at my elementary school about six years ago. It provides meals every Friday and before holidays so children will have something to eat over the weekend and breaks. Every other Friday my mom and I deliver the Backpack Buddies to all the classrooms. The kids that receive them rush to the door and are so happy to receive the food. It makes me proud of my mom’s accomplishments and my own giving back. My mom also recently started Backpack Buddies at my middle school. Many of the kids that get them have their only meal at school and don’t have dinner. Most people (myself included) take having three meals a day for granted. My mom makes a home cooked meal every morning and night but many kids only have school lunches and breakfast and maybe no servings of fruits or vegetables the whole day. My outlook on my community has changed a lot since I have started doing Backpack Buddies. Now I see that many kids are very happy from something as small (as we see it) as food.”

Deal – age 12, loves putzing, building, magic, and math:

“One reason we do Backpack Buddies is to help those in need. Also I just love the feeling of helping others. The Cecilia Rawlins Fund started this at my school. Many kids rely on this food over the weekend because they might only get food from school. It also makes me realize how much easier my life is than so many other people’s. I could never imagine what their life is like because I am always fed well. I learned not to take food for granted because I see what other kids have to go through without food. Many kids at my school need unhealthy school food for their meals. Backpack Buddies gives kids healthier options for food and easy to make food for kids who are alone after school. I learn not to be upset when we have food I don’t like because some kids don’t even have food. I also learned to respect other kids when it comes to what they eat because I never know if that’s all they have to eat. I like it because I get that feeling of helping someone with my own time. I also learned helping others is a lot more important than do my stuff for fun after school I can do that stuff after dinner or at other times.”



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