Combating child hunger and building up a workforce are the goals of a new partnership in North Alabama.
A Huntsville nonprofit that trains people in the service industry will deliver meals to 1200 kids at Boys and Girls Clubs of North Alabama every day, starting next week. Research shows one in four children struggle with hunger in Alabama.
Serving Hope got a government contract to serve the kids. The two groups working together addresses the issues of adults struggling with employment and children who may be struggling with hunger. For some of the kids at the clubs, the meal there and school lunch may be the only ones they get.
“We have a ton of those stories of kids that are hungry,” said Patrick Wynn, BGCNA president. “When they leave school most of the time they’ve eaten lunch at 11:00 and sometimes they don’t get to us until after 4:00 and so kids, they are hungry. And even before they go home in the evenings, we’re able to give them a snack, a lot of times kids will come back and ask for seconds because they know that they may not have a meal that night at home.”
Keeping the clubs’ food vendor local gives people job training which keeps them employed at local businesses and in turn helps the economy.
“We teach work skills to the underprivileged and marginalized communities so they will learn anywhere from cashiering skills to barista to line, prep,” Serving Hope Executive Director Cynthia Hart listed.
Serving Hope matches the worker with a job that fits, which is how some people get employee benefits for their entire family.
“It just helps them get on their feet,” Hart said.
Serving Hope will employ up to eight new workers to make the meals and they start delivering them next Tuesday. They’ll be using locally grown food and also teaching the kids about nutrition.