Childhood hunger in Onslow County is rampant. Kids without adequate food over the weekend often suffer from stomachaches, the inability to focus, chronic absences, and frequent headaches. Long-term food insecurity can also result in behavioral problems, lower physical functions, and depressive disorders, especially in adolescents.
The Call to Action...
When staff at Dixon Elementary noticed these tell-tale signs in their students, they realized they must act! The PTO, business leaders, area churches, local nonprofits, and United Way met and developed the CHEW! Program to respond to this urgent need.
How it Works
The CHEW! Program assists children in our community by providing backpacks filled with child-friendly, easy to prepare meals over the weekend. Every week, volunteers from the community pack the backpacks, which are distributed to children on Friday and returned on Monday. Since it’s creation, schools across Onslow County have been looking to replicate this successful model.
Twenty two schools currently operate as a CHEW Site: Blue Creek Elementary, Clyde Erwin Elementary, Dixon Elementary, Dixon Middle, Dixon High, Meadowview Elementary, Morton Elementary, Northwoods Elementary, Northwoods Park Middle, Parkwood Elementary, Richlands Primary, Richlands Elementary, Southwest Elementary, Southwest Middle, State Side Elementary, Trexler Middle, Summersill Elementary, Jacksonville High School, Bell Fork Elementary, Hunters Creek Elementary, New Bridge Middle School, and Jacksonville Commons Elementary.
How Can YOU Help?
CHEW! is in need of food or monetary donations to stock and maintain supplies of non-perishable food items that will provide nutrition for children each weekend. Food donations may be dropped off at at any of the participating CHEW Schools or United Way's office at 403 N Bayshore Blvd. in Jacksonville. You can also make a tax-deductable donation to United Way of Onslow County and designate CHEW! as the recipient. As a Partner Agency of the Food Bank of Central & Eastern NC, United Way is able to purchase specifically-needed food items at reduced costs, which allow for donations to go farther. Lastly, you can host a food drive at your church or place of work. Boxes and helpful hints can be provided!
Sponsor a child by adopting a backpack
- Backpack Buddy- 1 Week: $7.00
- Backpack Buddy- 1 Month: $28.00
- Backpack Buddy- 6 Months: $168.00
- Backpack Buddy- 1 Year: $336.00
Non-perishable child-friendly foods and easy to prepare meals are always needed. (For Safety Reasons, please do not donate glass items)
- Complete Pancake Mix
- Instant Grits
- Cereal Bars
- Canned Soup
- Peanut Butter / Jelly
- Canned Meat
- Ravioli / Spaghetti-o's
- Canned Fruit
- Fruit Cups
- Spaghetti / Sauce
- Canned Veggies
- Mac and Cheese
- Complete Meal Boxes
- Beef Stew
- Individual Toilet Paper Rolls
- Personal Hygiene Items
Contact Shelly Kieweg, Programs Coordinator at (910) 347-2646 or email firstname.lastname@example.org for additional information. To make a monetary donation, click here, or mail your donation (designated to CHEW! and/or the CHEW school ) to United Way of Onslow County, PO Box 5125, Jacksonville, NC 28540.
To download a brochure on the CHEW! Program, click here.