Office of the Mayor - April 9, 2019
Mayor Allen Joines today announced the establishment of the Think Orange Corporate Investment Fund to raise $500,000 over five years to sustain the city’s Think Orange campaign to combat hunger once the grant that is funding the Think Orange campaign runs out.
Business and foundation leaders in Winston-Salem agreed to establish the fund during a roundtable meeting Joines convened today. It was the second of two roundtable meetings Joines held to brief corporate leaders on the scope of the hunger problem in Winston-Salem.
"It is gratifying to see our businesses and foundations step up to join our campaign to combat hunger in Winston-Salem and Forsyth County," Joines said. "They realize that hunger is a problem that impacts the entire community in one way or another."
Council Member Denise D. Adams, who has made addressing hunger a priority, said, "We can do something about this…. We understand that when children and adults and those with special needs are hungry, it impedes their quality of life."
During the roundtable today, Lowes Foods presented Second Harvest Food Bank of Northwest North Carolina with a check for $90,730. The money was raised through the company's "Friends Feeding Friends" campaign during the holidays, said Tim Lowe, the president of Lowes Foods.
"Winston-Salem isn't just another market to us. It’s where we are based and where we live. As part of our commitment to help the community, all donations to Friends Helping Friends stay local, so it really is the people in the Triad helping each other."
Local agencies that fight hunger will be able to apply for grants from the Think Orange Corporate Investment Fund. The fund will be administered by the city and the city’s existing Community Allocations Committee will review grant requests.
The fund will also receive proceeds from an upcoming Orange Sock community awareness initiative involving Hanesbrands, the Winston-Salem/Forsyth County Schools athletics program, Lowes Foods and possibly other local grocery stores.
Under the initiative, school athletic teams will wear orange socks during selected games. Spectators will be asked to wear orange socks, too. Hanesbrands has pledged to provide the socks and Lowes Foods has agreed to sell them for a nominal price in its stores, with the proceeds going to the fund. Organizers are hoping other grocery store chains will participate, too.
Joines and leaders of other government, non-profit and faith organizations announced the Think Orange campaign last August. The campaign is being funded through December with a $115,500 grant under the CHAMPS (Cities Combating Hunger Through Afterschool and Summer Meal Programs) program of the National League of Cities in partnership with the Food Research & Action Center. Winston-Salem was one of six cities selected to receive a 2018 CHAMPS grant and technical assistance from the National League of Cities to expand the use of federal nutrition programs to fight hunger in the community.
Partnering with the city for the campaign are the Winston-Salem/Forsyth County Schools, Second Harvest Food Bank, the Winston-Salem Urban League, Ezekiel A.M.E. Zion Church, H.O.P.E. of Winston-Salem, Cobblestone Farmers Market and Cherry Street Mini-Market.
Since November, the city has been working with the Winston-Salem Urban League to increase the number of seniors receiving benefits through the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program.
In February, the Think Orange campaign and Second Harvest Food Bank held a childhood hunger summit to explore creative ways to make better use of programs for fighting hunger.
Also in February, Second Harvest began a hot dinners program serving lower-income youth and seniors, as well as individuals with disabilities.
The Winston-Salem metropolitan statistical area ranked seventh in 2017 on a national list of MSAs with the highest rate of food hardship, according to a report by the Food Action & Research Center. This was based on the center's "How Hungry is America?" report, which contained data for every state, the District of Columbia and 108 metropolitan statistical areas for 2016–2017.