Northwest Assistance Ministries (NAM) kicked off its annual Survival Over the Summer (SOS) food drive on March 1. The drive will go through the end of April.
Each summer, NAM’s food pantry feeds more than 5,000 area children through its Survival over the Summer (SOS) project. To accomplish this, NAM relies heavily on community help. Individuals, groups, schools, businesses and congregations are needed to conduct food drives and fundraisers. Whether it’s by donating one bag of groceries or a truckload of food, $5 or $1,000, everyone can make a difference.
“SOS is designed to help families whose children receive free or reduced-price meals during the school year,” said Carole Little, NAM’s President and CEO. “When school isn’t in session, many of these children go without nutritious meals. Through SOS we try to provide these families with additional food so they can stretch their limited budgets to cover other summer expenses, such as higher electric bills.”
Each year the Feinstein Foundation offers a $1 million proportional challenge to help fight hunger. NAM is a participating agency and will receive a portion of the $1 million based on the amount of donations received March 1-April 30. Because donations received before April 30 will be counted toward this challenge, the contribution will have added value. Each food item and dollar NAM receives will be valued at $1 toward the challenge.
The SOS Project has already received a big boost from The Souper Bowl of Caring Program, which brought in 16,404 pounds of food to NAM’s Food Pantry, which was enough to provide 410 clients with several days of meals.
The demand for food at NAM’s food pantry increases by approximately 30% each summer. The SOS project was designed to help meet this need.
“The cost of feeding their children during the summer may mean some parents must choose between food and paying the rent or running the air conditioner,” Little said. “The community’s support really does help children and families survive over the summer.”
The public kick-off to the SOS Project is Art for the Hungry, a food sculpture competition that challenges local community groups to create a themed structure using a minimum of 1,000 non-perishable food items. This year’s participants will be challenged to think big, as the event is themed “Larger than Life.”
The edible artwork will be on display at Willowbrook Mall from March 14-28, and community members are encouraged to vote by making a monetary donation for their favorite sculpture. Winners will be chosen in the categories of People’s Choice and Judges’ Choice.
Groups building Art for the Hungry sculptures include: National Charity League – Cypress Creek, Plymouth United Church, National Charity League – Cypress Belles, Klein High School Latin and Art Clubs, Klein United Methodist Church Jr. High Youth, and National Charity League – Champions. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, Klein Stake is holding multiple food drives for the event. Wells Fargo also made a a significant donation.
“We are grateful for the community’s ongoing support of this vital project,” said Carole Little. “Each year, everyone come together to feed Neighbors in Need, and this year the need is greater than ever.”
For information on NAM’s SOS Project, contact Tanecia Snid at (281) 885-4608.
NAM is a nonprofit, community-based social service agency that is supported by over 50 congregations, 18 Service Partner organizations and more than 160 businesses Community Partners.