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October 9, 2018 3 minute READ


tags Inspiration | Local Flavor
locations All

"Have you eaten?" That's the secret code for love and care in many families, but it's a question of real consequence for more people than many realize. That's why Mast Store is partnering with Merrell Footwear and local food agencies to turn the answer to that question into a resounding "yes" in our communities, especially for one of the most vulnerable populations, our children.


Hunger will be the bully many children face today. It will shut down growing bodies, fog young minds in those crucial stages of development, and instill a fear of scarcity that a child will carry with him or her well into the future. Hunger isn’t simply a physical problem—not for the hungry, and not for those stepping up to help solve it. It's a heart problem, one our community is ready to fight. 

According to Feeding America, 1 in 6 children in the U.S. are food insecure, which means they worry about something a child should never fear-- when they’ll have their next meal. Food for Kids ensures that our communities have the resources to prevent child hunger. “Partnering with Merrell has allowed us to provide thousands of weekend meals,” said Lisa Cooper, president of Mast General Store. “We are proud to partner with vendors that are committed to changing lives in our communities. Merrell believes that meeting a child’s needs is vital to helping them grow and learn without the worries of food insecurity. They know how important it is for a kid to just be a kid.”

Mast Store and Merrell Footwear are hopeful that the Food for Kids campaign will see massive growth this year in our communities. A decade of service in partnering to provide food for hungry children has afforded us a unique opportunity to touch so many lives. But we need your help. 

Mast Store and Merrell, alongside our partnering food agencies, want you to join us in our fight against the silent bully of hunger. Food for Kids 2018 will run from October 22nd through November 4th. AppleFor each pair of Merrell Footwear purchased at Mast Store during this period, Merrell will donate funds to fill a backpack with food for the weekend. Food agencies across our communities will fill backpacks with kid-friendly foods to last a weekend, a crucial time away from services found in schools and aftercare programs—a crucial time of hunger for children with no access and no means of feeding themselves. Items such as microwaveable meals, bars, and juices are given discretely to the children on Friday, and the backpacks are returned for refilling on Monday.

The backpacks will be distributed to children identified by their teachers as at-risk. We know these backpacks make a difference. Teachers note the difference in attitudes and behaviors upon children's return to school the following Monday. Energy, mood, productivity, all these are affected positively when children have their basic needs met. 

Join us and help the children in your community to thrive and to overcome an epidemic that can be simply and easily stopped if we all work together. Backpacks cost less than three mornings' coffees and are far more valuable to the child who takes that portable pantry home. Donations and volunteers are welcome. Together we are stronger, and together we can make sure no child goes hungry.

You can find more information below on our partners' sites. 

Boone/Valle Crucis - Hunger and Health Coalition
Waynesville/Hendersonville/Asheville - MANNA FoodBank
Greenville - Loaves & Fishes
Knoxville - Second Harvest Food Bank of East Tennessee
Columbia - Harvest Hope
Winston-Salem - Second Harvest Food Bank of Northwest North Carolina  

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