Members of the Young Democrats of North Carolina chapter at Shelby High School wanted to do more to help needy youth over the recent holidays. In years past, they’ve contributed toward gifts for one or two needy children at Christmas time. But in 2011, they resolved to do more, reach more people and directly address a real need in Cleveland County—the hunger that goes with a poverty rate nearly 25 percent of the population.
The result? The Young Dems held a food drive and collected 855 canned and packaged food items for Communities in Schools distribution to needy families.
“We had set a goal of collecting 500 items, and when we reached that, just kept on going,” said SHS senior Nick Carpenter, YD leader at the school, county, and district levels and third vice chair of the Cleveland County Democratic Party.
Carpenter said his group was motivated by the initiatives of N. C. Lt. Gov. Walter Dalton encouraging North Carolinians to support local food banks. Dalton cites statistics showing North Carolina is tied with Louisiana in the highest percentage of hungry children—one in four children under five go hungry. And nearly one in four people in North Carolina struggled to afford enough food for themselves and their families in 2010.