Whiteville City Schools
Whiteville City Schools is one of two public school systems in Columbus County and there are five schools in the Whiteville City School District. At the time of this summary, there were 2,341 students enrolled and growing daily with 350 employees. As a part of the RCPNC grant, Kathryn Faulk, School Nutrition Services Director for Whiteville City Schools, and Rhonda Dutton, Public Information Officer and Community School Coordinator for Whiteville City Schools are focusing efforts to get nutrition assistance programs in Columbus County to coordinate with each other and to communicate better with residents in the county.
A community needs assessment was conducted to talk about any barriers, perceptions, and to share resources with stakeholders through focus group meetings. Several barriers in the community were identified. Transportation is a big issue. Columbus County Transportation does not go to schools and there are high fees associated with transporting to SFSP sites. Families are unaware of the services that can help them provide food for their children, including local food pantries. There are also issues with people’s perception of need and stigma.
Whiteville City Schools proposes to address these barriers by working with other stakeholders to engage in a broad media campaign (social media, word of mouth, signs, information brochures, etc.) to educate families on how to bring awareness and/or access resources available to help keep their children fed. Whiteville School will identify and train potential organizations interested in becoming a SFSP site to expand the number of locations children can get to for a meal during the summer. We will identify Child and Adult Care Food Program resources for children in day care programs that match eligible organization needs including but not limited to Waccamaw Siouan Tribal Grounds facilities and through the county. Our coalition will also make contact with the NCDA to explore the possibility of reinstating the commodity food distribution on Waccamaw Siouan Tribal Grounds.
While these will be our targeted strategies, we consider this project an on-going, evolving process. Enhancements and thinking outside of the box can only grow this program so that more children are fed and the information is disseminated throughout the county. We will continue to find ways to improve the coordination of our nutrition assistance programs in order to solve the food insecurities found among our children.
Targeted Nutrition Assistance Programs: SFSP, Food Banks, Commodity Food Distribution