Feed the Need

Food bank’s Kate illustrates needs of hungry children

Kate is a cartoon character that stars in the Food Bank of Central and Eastern North Carolina's new childhood hunger awareness campaign. She visited the food bank's warehouse recently.
Kate is a cartoon character that stars in the Food Bank of Central and Eastern North Carolina's new childhood hunger awareness campaign. She visited the food bank's warehouse recently. COURTESY OF THE FOOD BANK OF CENTRAL AND EASTERN N.C.

Meet Kate, a pigtailed little girl with orange hair and a sobering backstory.

Kate is the new poster child for the Food Bank of Central and Eastern North Carolina. Her dad lost his job, and now her family is struggling to make ends meet. They often don’t have money for food, and Kate sometimes goes hungry.

Sure, Kate is just a cartoon, but her story is shared by 191,000 children in the 34-county region served by the food bank. Those numbers are quoted often during the charity’s food drives and fundraisers, but the new awareness campaign featuring Kate puts a face on the problem.

“It’s very simple, yet the message gets across in a very powerful way,” said Jennifer Caslin, a spokeswoman for the food bank. “It’s very focused on awareness and education.”

The idea for Kate was dreamed up by an Ohio food bank, and she made her North Carolina debut recently at an Ignite Raleigh conference. She stars in a short video on the food bank’s website, and her 3-foot-tall cutout has been making the rounds at local events.

“We all kind of fell in love with Kate,” Caslin said, adding that the girl will be a big presence in the food bank’s efforts, particularly with kids and schools.

Kate comes with educational activities and facts to spark discussions about hunger in the community. A paper cutout of Kate can travel much like the classic Flat Stanley character. Parents set a paper “plate for Kate” at the dinner table, leaving it empty as a reminder of those who go without.

Kate is also making her way around Facebook and Twitter. “She’s been well-received in the social media community,” Caslin said.

Find Kate online at www.foodbankcenc.org/kate.

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