From The Blog
Kiawah Women’s Foundation Feeds Hungry Sea Island Children
With a seemingly endless number of restaurants, grocery stores, farmer’s markets and more throughout the Lowcountry, it is easy to take hunger for granted. For many families on the Sea Islands (Johns and Wadmalaw Island), however, it is an all too real problem.
The issue is particularly noticeable at schools in the area, where a majority of students come from families living at or below the poverty line. Though schools do provide free and discounted meals for these students during school hours, many were spending the weekends hungry.
“With the poverty levels on the Sea Islands, it’s just a difficult situation for many families to provide for these children,” explained Kiawah Island residents Terry Weaver and Theresa Widuch. “The schools do all they can, but these kids still need our help.”
Recognizing this need, Terry and Theresa created the Kiawah Women’s Foundation (KWF) in 2013. Among other efforts, the KWF works with Kiawah Island volunteers to provide packs of healthy, balanced food and snacks to feed Sea Island children in need on the weekends.
“We began the program working with Angel Oak Elementary, feeding just 25 school children,” said Terry. “Thanks to the community’s generosity, we’re now able to provide food items for over 265 students throughout three schools – Angel Oak Elementary, Frierson Elementary and Haut Gap Middle.” Every Thursday during the school year, KWF volunteers work together to fill that week’s portion of food packs. The packs go home with select students each weekend and feature two items for breakfast and two for lunch, including fruit and other healthy snacks.
“We wanted to not only be able to provide food and snacks for these children, but give them healthy options as well,” said Terry. “We focus on making the food packs as balanced as we can.” In addition to the weekly packs, the KWF provides year-end packs given to students at the end of the school year.
“These students have had breakfast and lunch provided to them at school all year, now parents have to provide three meals a day, seven days a week,” said Terry. “This is a big expense for them, so these packs help the families into summer.”
For those interested in helping, there are a number of ways to contribute to their cause. The foundation hosts or participates in several fundraising events throughout the year, including the annual Sip and Shop at J. McLaughlin in Freshfields Village on Nov 27 and a fundraising dinner at the Sandcastle Community Center on Kiawah Island on Dec. 8. Also the KWF accepts volunteers to help
fill food packs each week.
For more information on the KWF, including information on fundraising events and volunteer opportunities, visit kiawahwomensfoundation.org.