Wake County has opened six new emergency meal pick-up locations to ensure those in need during the pandemic can feed their families. 

There’s now 138 places throughout the county families can go for free, healthy meals. Volunteers and Wake County Public school staff have given out more than 900,000 meals and 10,000 emergency food boxes to families since March 16. 

The newest locations “help fill gaps in communities where access to healthy meals can be a challenge,” county officials said in a press statement.  The Inter-Faith shuttle and National Guard will be helping to ramp up distribution in the coming weeks. 

You can find the location of the new pick-up sites here. 

“This is a stunning show of collaboration between our partners and volunteers,” Wake County Board of Commissioners Chairman Greg Ford said in a press statement. “I’m so proud that, together, we’re finding ways to share healthy meals at no cost to children and families who might otherwise go hungry during this difficult time.”

Data from 2018 shows 41,000 children in Wake County experience food insecurity. For many, “the meals they get at school are the only nutritious meals they eat all day,” said Wake County’s Cooperative Extension director Katherine Williams.

The program is being funded through federal reimbursement money from the county’s summer feeding program, which usually rolls out when school is adjourned for summer break. With schools closed due to the coronavirus pandemic, officials decided to launch the program early. 

As children continue remote learning, Board of Education chair Keith Sutton said ensuring families are fed continues to be a top priority. 

“We know that children are less able to focus on learning when they are hungry,” Sutton said. “By helping to meet this basic need, we hope students are more likely to learn and remain healthy while our school buildings are closed.” 

Contact Raleigh news editor Leigh Tauss at ltauss@indyweek.com. 

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