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Fighting Food Insecurity and the Summer Slide

Wake County, NC
Program Year: 2019

Historic Oak View County Park and Wake County Public Libraries partnered to address issues of food insecurity and the summer slide by serving at-risk youth in South Raleigh through the USDA’s Summer Food Service Program. SFSP ensures low-income children receive nutritious meals during school breaks. Offered since 2016 at HOV in collaboration with the Wake County Public School System, 2018 saw 64 volunteers provide lunches to 945 youth. Studies find that when activities are offered at SFSPs, participation increases. WCPL created the Thompson Fellowship, an eight-week paid work/study opportunity for teens who completed service with the Libraries Teen Leadership Corps to offer educational and recreational activities to SFSP participants at HOV. Activities were designed to help participants avoid the “summer slide”—when students forget skills learned the previous school year—more common in at-risk children. The teens also met weekly with community partners and WCPL staff to enhance their personal and professional development. The North Carolina Public Library Directors’ Association awarded WCPL the Best Service Innovation 2018 for the fellowship. The program is an example of a partnership that fed both bodies and minds of Wake County’s most vulnerable residents and will continue in 2019.

Ms. Elena M. Owens
Regional Library Manager