ATLANTA – DS Smith, a leading provider of sustainable, fiber-based packaging worldwide, is partnering with the nonprofit food pantry Chatham Outreach Alliance (CORA) in Pittsboro, N.C., to help address the food insecurity schoolchildren face during summer break.
To facilitate faster food delivery to more people in CORA’s Chatham County, N.C. service area, the DS Smith North America Packaging and Paper (NAPP) plant in nearby Holly Springs, is producing and donating 5,000 boxes to CORA for packaging and delivering food donations to families over the summer.
The donation is in support of CORA’s SNACK! (Summer Nutritional Assistance for Chatham Kids) program, which distributes food to approximately 1,400 kids who depend upon free or reduced-cost meals at school during the school year but have little or no replacement for this when school is not in session. The program provides each participating child with 21 healthy meals each week from June to mid-August.
“Our SNACK! Program was originally established as a farmer’s market-style service for families to select food from the pantry we provide, but during the pandemic we were forced to switch to providing boxes that our volunteers fill and deliver curbside to families,” said Rebecca Hankins, development and communications director, CORA. The organization has continued using boxes for distribution, even after resuming farmer’s market-style services, because of the convenience curbside distribution offers for families.
Hankins continued: “We serve many working families who often might not have the hour or more of time during the day it might take to shop the pantry and we found that curbside pickup using boxes was great, because they save families time.”
DS Smith creates sustainable, 100% fiber-based packaging, meaning that as well as providing much needed convenience for time-pressed families, the boxes donated to CORA contain no plastic for easy recycling.
Bryce Deblasi, Holly Springs plant manager, DS Smith NAPP said: “We are delighted to be able to help CORA in supporting local families by donating boxes – we hope this can make a difference to those relying on the Summer Nutritional Assistance for Chatham Kids program. Our sites play an active role in their communities, and we seek to represent the communities and customers we serve – I know our team at the Holly Springs packaging plant is incredibly proud to support CORA’s important mission.”
Approximately 50% of public school children receive free or low-cost meals through the federal school lunch program in Chatham County, and CORA anticipates a 10% increase in demand this summer. Using the donated boxes for distribution will help CORA meet demand as it works to provide food at 15 distribution sites. Through SNACK!, CORA aims to continue increasing the accessibility of nutritious meals throughout the summer to children facing food insecurity in Chatham County.