ColaEats Launches to Reduce Summer Food Insecurity

In an effort to combat summer food insecurity among children, several community organizations, including the Columbia Urban League, Columbia Food Policy Committee, Wholespire Richland, and No Kid Hungry, have joined forces to create ColaEats.

ColaEats is an initiative aimed at supporting three greater Columbia area school districts as they provide meals to children during the summer break. The goal of the initiative is to distribute $120 gift cards to 1,500 students and their families in Richland School District One, Richland School District Two, and Lexington-Richland School District Five.

During the summer months, many students who rely on school meals face challenges accessing nutritious food. While school districts and nonprofits set up summer break café sites to provide free meals to children, barriers such as lack of transportation, absence of a site in their community, and parents or guardians being at work during meal service times prevent many children from accessing these meals.

To address this issue, school social workers in each district have identified students whose families have recently faced hardships and struggle to access summer break café sites. These students will receive gift cards, which will be distributed to the parent or guardian of record starting the week of May 22.

The ColaEats gift card, redeemable at any Food Lion grocery store, can be used to purchase a variety of food items for household consumption, including fresh and frozen fruits and vegetables, meat, dairy products, grains, baby formula, and more. Notably, alcohol and tobacco purchases are prohibited with the gift card.

For more information about the gift cards, please contact the School District Five Social Worker Office at 803-476-8250.

To support the ColaEats initiative, donations can be made online at, checks can be mailed to PO Box 50125, Columbia, SC 29250, or donations can be made to the “ColaEats Account” at any First Citizens Bank Branch.

Together, let’s ensure no child goes hungry this summer.

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