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Small businesses and United Way help feed food-insecure children

Published: Dec. 8, 2021 at 8:14 PM EST
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JACKSONVILLE, N.C. (WITN) - The Grazing Tray restaurant hosted a pack-out on Wednesday to help feed food-insecure children.

Boxes for Bellies was a food drive idea started by The Grazing Tray Owner Samantha Prevatte.

“Something was just laid on my heart and it was like Boxes for Bellies and I was like ‘hmm that’s interesting.’ I literally was like ‘ok, 50 kids,’” Prevatte said.

Shelley Kieweg, coordinator of the United Way’s Children Healthy Eating on Weekends (CHEW) program heard about the initiative and partnered with Prevatte to expand the food drive.

Boxes for Bellies and the CHEW program raised enough money to feed 900 children in need for the holidays. Prevatte says a number of small businesses came together to help.

“For me, it solidifies that small businesses truly make such an impact. So when I launched Boxes for Bellies, it was all of the small businesses, all of the people in the community that said ‘Ok, we’ve got this, We can pledge 10.’ ‘We can pledge 7.’ ‘We can pledge 1.’ Every box mattered,” Prevatte said.

The Grazing Tray also presented the CHEW program with a check for over $5,200 to help fund the program’s efforts.

Prevatte and Kieweg say they both have a personal connection to food-insecure children.

“It takes a village to make sure that children are well taken care of. I kind of felt challenged to feed all 900 [kids],” Prevatte said.

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