When White Castle Roofing established the Grand Giveaway initiative, we thought it was a great way to achieve two goals at once: tangibly thank our awesome customers, and make a difference in our local community. Since then, we’ve given away more than $80,000 to some amazing charity organizations doing incredible work to make our world a better place. We’ve also opened a new office in Grand Island, and now our list of Grand Giveaway charities reflects that with the newest addition to the line-up — Project Hunger!

We’re so excited to introduce Project Hunger to our customers. Project Hunger is a non-profit founded in Grand Island, Neb., in 1990 by members of the community who were concerned about the shortage of food supplies at the local food bank. Their mission is to raise the awareness of the community concerning the reality of hunger on a local level and around the world, and to provide the opportunity to gather food and monetary resources to be used in their own community.

Most people don’t think of hunger being a problem Nebraska’s citizens face, but it is more widespread than many would expect. According to research the Food Research and Action Center (FRAC) released in 2016, 15.9 percent of Nebraska households with children and 10 percent of households without children reported difficulty in affording food. While Nebraska fares slightly better than the national rate of 19.2 percent of households struggling to afford food, in a nation with such vast resources, it’s tough to imagine how this problem can persist — and yet, it affects our own community so frequently.

White Castle Roofing’s own Jared Loudy serves on the board for Project Hunger — one of 35 volunteers who works diligently to meet this need in the Grand Island area. “I had heard about Project Hunger from some friends at church,” he said. “After talking with them one night at dinner, as I looked across the table at my own little ones, something in my heart broke when I thought about other children not having a meal due to some circumstance outside their control.”

Project Hunger Easter Baskets

Project Hunger’s annual Easter Basket Extravaganza auctions off nearly 400 baskets to raise money to feed the hungry. Photo credit: Project Hunger

Project Hunger’s board organizes a series of annual events to raise money and resources. These events have included Easter basket silent auctions, Harvest Festivals, canned food sculpture competitions, and more. Since then, more than half a million dollars have been raised to help feed the hungry in the Grand Island community! Project Hunger also acts as the direct conduit to provide food straight to those who need it most, via weekly meals, vouchers and Food Bucks to use at local grocery stores, backpack programs for students, and Thanksgiving basket distributions.

Jared said he finds the direct distribution to be the most meaningful undertaking by Project Hunger board members and volunteers. “Every day a meal is served in Grand Island, even holidays, by a group of volunteers that looks to feed both body and soul,” he said. “While a meal is served for the body, the soul is served as well through prayer and devotion.”

Project Hunger food distribution

Volunteers help serve a meal every Sunday through Project Hunger. Photo credit: Project Hunger

The group is inspired by the Scripture in Matthew 25:35, 37, and 40: “For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat. I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink… Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord when did we see you hungry and feed you and thirsty and give you something to drink?’ The king will reply, ‘Whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me.’”

One reason White Castle Roofing loves Project Hunger is their stewardship of resources. With no paid staff, the organization is able to maintain very low overhead, directing 97% of the money it receives to the local community to fight hunger. Their goal is to stand in the gap for those in need — while nearly every community has a program for the hungry (like local food banks, pantries, missions, or shelters), many are under-funded, or those most in need are unaware of the resources available. So Project Hunger is helping to connect people to resources, raising awareness while meeting the need.

Canned Food Sculpture Winners

The winners of Project Hunger’s 2017 Canned Food Sculpture Competition. Photo credit: Project Hunger

“As a member of this community, I am so excited to see an organization like White Castle Roofing making an investment in my hometown,” Jared said. “My work is a blessing when a part of what we do is serve those we call neighbors in the communities we serve.”

To learn more about Project Hunger, check out their website or Facebook page, and get involved today!