According to data from the U.S. Census Bureau, 34.4% of students between the ages of 11 and 17 (the ages of most CLC students) live below the poverty line. Many more students’ families fall just above the poverty line.
Our students are hungry. The abundance of food programs like Seamless Summer and Sack Packs for Kids are evidence of this. But there are still students that are falling through the cracks. To get seamless summer, you have to be able to get yourself to a facility. To get food from the food pantry, an adult in the home has to get themselves to the food pantry. We have noticed over the years that many of our students–some of them as young as fifteen–are the functional heads of household. High schoolers are the ones bringing in the money in their family. Middle schoolers are responsible for cooking the meals and taking care of younger siblings, nieces, nephews, and possibly even cousins. Because there is such a great need for food resources, many of the schools have on-site food pantries for their students.
An Opportunity to Serve
We at the Christian Learning Center are so excited to serve as a liaison between our schools and local churches to facilitate food collection drives and deliver items to our contact points at each school on churches’ behalf. In this way, we will always know what the specific needs at each school are.
We are so excited to announce that local churches have already stepped up and covered the donation slots for September and early October. If your church would like to reserve a drop-off week in mid or late October, please email firstname.lastname@example.org. For a list of preferred items or to request a media kit for your church, please visit our Facebook page or email email@example.com.
A Chance to Show Unity
At this year’s Annual Banquet, we invite all attendees to bring a single canned good, nonperishable, or microwave meal to help feed the hungry students in our county.
We firmly believe that providing food for hungry students is one of the most tangible ways that we can minister to students and begin to meet their spiritual needs as we are used to meet their physical needs. In this way, we see this special banquet night food drive as a way to show that, even though we
meet in different buildings and we are members of different congregations, the Body of Christ is one in Gilmer County. We are united under the same cause: sharing the Gospel of Jesus Christ and making disciples for Him in our community.
We are doing this because we believe that this opportunity to pour out love and support for our school system and our students is the exact type of kingdom work that our community needs.
If you are attending the banquet this year, we ask that you bring a single food item. The schools have specifically requested two different types of items: granola bars and single-use microwaveable meals like ramen bowls, mac n’ cheese bowls, Hormel Compleats, or Pace Ready Meals for families who may only have a microwave at home and items like value-sized cereals and family-sized boxed meals for larger families. Things that are easy to prepare are preferable as many students who are benefiting from the food pantries may also be responsible for cooking their own meals.
We are grateful that the Lord has provided this opportunity to serve our schools and we are so excited to partner with our local churches in serving Gilmer County’s students!