Ronald McDonald surprised Stokes YMCA campers on Friday at lunchtime with over 100 bags of Happy Meals.
Second Harvest Food Bank of Northwest North Carolina and McDonalds partnered for the Buy One Share One Happy Meal Campaign to bring emphases on food insecurity needs in the local community, which elevate during summer months.
“We are so grateful,” said Second Harvest Director of Childhood Hunger Programs Daisy Rodriguez. “When they approached us last year we weren’t sure what we would do, but McDonalds talked about their happy meal campaign and I think it’s been a great success.”
King’s McDonalds, located on South Main Street, is part of the 91 owner-operators who opted to join the campaign to help combat the rising need of childhood hunger.
“They reached out to us,” Rodriguez said. “They know childhood hunger exists and they wanted to do something about it. They’ve been wonderful. Last year we got about 25,000 happy meal cards and this summer it was beyond 30,000. You don’t realize it, but there are a lot of kids who’ve never had a happy meal.”
According to Rodriguez, one in four children in the Northwest N.C. service area (made up of 18 counties) are food insecure and in rural areas it’s a dismal one in three.
“In the summer hunger does not take a vacation. We have to be cognizant of that. Many children have a greater need in the summer and we have to step up as a community to feed them. They don’t have access to breakfast and lunch like they do in the school year.”
Rodriguez said children lack transportation in the summer months to get to a feeding site.
“I’m thankful we have those, but the children can’t get there. We have to change things. One way to do that is to take food to the children. We’re asking people to please contact your congress representative or senator and let them know we have to do a better job of feeding our children.”
Rodriguez encourages people to partner with their local food bank.
“If you can, just give one dollar or one hour of your time. You are helping to feed someone somewhere. It’s important for us to come together. Volunteer at your local food bank or at Second Harvest. There are so many ways to get involved and help.”
Amanda Dodson can be reached at 336-813-2426 or on Twitter @ AmandaTDodson.