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Rotary, nonprofit feed hungry
Drive collected food for children
Social worker Caitlin Waddington, left, and Cate Entrekin, BeRemedy project coordinator, kneel next to food donations for children in need this summer. - photo by Submitted
During the school year, many Forsyth County students receive free and reduced price breakfast and lunch.

But without those meals during the summer, those children may not always know when their next meal will come.

“It’s just scary to think about these kids who don’t have food at home in our community,” said Grant Schmeelk, president of the North Forsyth 400 Rotary Club. “We wanted to make a difference.”

And make a difference they did.

Nearly 350 children will have food for the summer thanks to a recent effort by the club and BeRemedy, a nonprofit organization that connects donors with those in need.

The goal of the project, called the Bookbag Challenge, was to gather 300 backpacks filled with food for the county’s children in need.

Several drop-off points were established, including Chick-fil-A, Donut Connection and Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage.

Between donations of money and food, Schmeelk said 348 children will have food this summer.

The response, Schmeelk said, “blew me away.”

“We sent out the need lists and had drop points ... some people donated money as well,” he said. “We went and did some shopping at Wal-Mart and filled up their bags.

“We made sure it wasn’t junk [food]. It was like granola bars and tuna fish and oatmeal.”

In a statement, BeRemedy founder Blake Canterbury said “people all over Forsyth County were itching to help.”

“When we heard the heart-wrenching stories of kids going hungry for days at a time, we knew this was exactly what our organization was designed to do,” he said.

The program was such a success, Schmeelk said, his organization is about to launch another effort with BeRemedy, and plans to include all of Forsyth’s Rotary clubs.