Cumberland Co. Schools partner with non-profit to fight child hunger

Cumberland County Schools partnered with No Kid Hungry and joined the fight to end child hunger.
Cumberland County Schools partnered with No Kid Hungry and joined the fight to end child hunger.
Published: Oct. 3, 2023 at 7:06 PM EDT
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CUMBERLAND CO., Tenn. (WVLT) - One in eight kids live with hunger in the United States, and Cumberland County Schools partnered with a non-profit to make sure all children have access to meals.

“That’s the emphasis. I mean, if they’re hungry, you can’t learn,” Stephanie Barnes, the principal of Stone Elementary School, said.

Barnes said 75% of kids in Cumberland County qualify for free or reduced lunch. They work with a non-profit called No Kid Hungry to try and ensure all children have meals.

“We were able to do some on-site meal service for summer school where all the kids received a hot breakfast, a hot lunch, but we also had meal pickup, and on meal pick up days, we had those on Tuesdays and Fridays, and on that Tuesday and Friday, the parents would pick up hot meals for the kids for that day, but we also have other meals packed for the other days of the week,” said Kathy Hamby.

Hamby is the School Nutrition District Director for Cumberland County Schools. She said around 7,000 students depend on her daily to get meals throughout the school year.

Hamby said she’s grateful to play a small role in helping eliminate food insecurities throughout the county.

“It’s our number one goal to make sure as many kids as possible that we can reach get meals: breakfast, lunch, hot meals, nutritious meals because there is a lot of food insecurities in Cumberland County and especially with the increased meal pricing, I mean because you go in the grocery store it seems like things are two or three times more than it was a year or two ago,” said Hamby.

They have around 56 meal sites and Hamby told WVLT News they hope to get more soon. Because of the partnership with No Kid Hungry, they have provided more than 260,000 meals to kids.

“If a kid needs a pencil, if a kid is hungry, it’s given to them while they’re here so yes, I do think it builds a sense of community, and I think they learn to trust us that way. They don’t need to worry about there’s kids at school they need to focus on their job or whatever they’re doing in that moment,” said Barnes.

Anyone interested can donate to No Kid Hungry through the website.