Catawba County News

Social Services Awards Stewardship of the Backpack Program to the Corner Table

Social Services Awards Stewardship of the Backpack Program to the Corner Table

Published: November 19, 2018

Catawba County Social Services has awarded stewardship of the Backpack Program of Catawba County to The Corner Table, a Newton-based nonprofit organization dedicated to alleviating food insecurity in the community.

Beginning January 1, 2019, The Corner Table will assume all operations for the program, which strives to remove hunger as a barrier to learning by providing weekend nourishment to students experiencing food insecurity in Catawba County.

The Backpack Program will continue to operate from its warehouse space in Hickory. Current program manager Amanda Freeland has been named Backpack Program Coordinator for The Corner Table and will continue overseeing the program as part of The Corner Table team.

Since 2009, Catawba County Social Services has collaborated with many community organizations, donors and volunteers to expand the Backpack Program into what it is today. Over the past two years, demand for Social Services’ mandated services (such as Child Protection, Adult Protection and Foster Care) has significantly increased. This led Social Services to seek an alternative provider for the Backpack Program, a non-mandated service that not only fills a critical need but also receives broad community support.

In early August, Social Services held an interest meeting to discuss the opportunity with community organizations. Following a thorough application process, Social Services selected The Corner Table due to strong mission alignment, a solid operational foundation, and the ability to manage, sustain and grow the program as a natural extension of its service model.

“Our hope was to find a sustainable home for the Backpack Program, which continues to be a much-needed community service,” said Catawba County Social Services Director Karen Harrington. “The Corner Table demonstrated sincere passion for Backpack’s mission, which was an important deciding factor for us. Considering their proven capabilities and well-developed community partnerships, The Corner Table will be a great steward of this program well into the future.”

“The Corner Table’s overall goal is to ensure we’re doing all we can to make sure people in our community have access to food,” said Summer Jenkins, executive director of The Corner Table. “While most people know us as a soup kitchen, we are also providing children and families with frozen meals and nonperishable items through partnerships with several schools. The Backpack Program is a perfect fit with this work, and we’re excited to help carry this successful program forward.”

Social Services and The Corner Table are working together to ensure the program’s successful transition by the end of the year. Social Services will continue to facilitate donations to the Backpack Program through December 31, 2018, and any funds remaining at that time will transfer to The Corner Table. Beginning January 1, 2019, The Corner Table will assume fundraising efforts and will accept donations in direct support of The Backpack Program.

For more information about the Backpack Program of Catawba County, contact Amanda Freeland at (828) 695-5648.

For more information about The Corner Table, visit