Vital Signs Volume 13, Issue 1 | Page 7

This massive operation is made possible by 61 staff members and nearly 3,500 volunteers who sort food, prepare shipments, work at individual pantries, host food drives and even answer the phone. As a registered 501©3 nonprofit organization, the Dare to Care Food Bank’s administrative costs take just six percent of their funds. That means 94 percent of every dollar donated goes towards fulfilling their mission of food distribution. The impressive work they do would not be possible without a wide-ranging network of donors and volunteers. In her 14 years with Dare to Care Food Bank, Ball has helped coordinate expansions and additional programs to reach those in need. Her work with the nonprofit began as Kids Café Director. “Kids Café is a program that’s close to my heart,” she said. “Through Kids Café, Dare to Care is partnering with entities that are safe places for children living in impoverished neighbor- hoods. We encourage families to send their children to these safe environments where they are provided with mentors, physical activity and healthy meals. On average, Dare to Care provides 1,500 hot, nutritious and balanced meals per day to these kids. These are positive spaces where children in poverty can meet volunteers interested in improving their lives.” Ball explained that the Kids Café program is a distillation of what Dare to Care means to do in the community. By partner- VITAL SIGNS Volume 13 • Issue 1 ing with other caring organizations, each mission and service is made stronger. Another way that impoverished Louisville children are being reached is through the Backpack Buddy program. In 2004, Dare to Care began providing backpacks full of kid-friendly nutritious food to 200 children at risk of hunger. Today, the program serves 42 schools and more than 2,700 children who live in food insecure homes. A major consideration of the Dare to Care Food Bank is “How can we reach those who need us the most?” The answer can be found in programs such as Backpack Buddy, Senior Outreach and the Mobile Pantry which travels to neighborhoods in the nonprofit’s 13 county radius who have shown the most food insecurity and delivers food on a consistent, scheduled basis. Another program on the rise at Dare to Care Food Bank is the Prescriptive Pantry. Currently in a pilot/testing phase, the Pre- scriptive Pantry looks to partner Dare to Care with health care providers who see undernourished Louisville residents on a semi-regular basis. These trusted physicians can communicate directly with persons-in-need and may be able to discover areas of need which have been previously unseen. “We’ve partnered with Norton Healthcare and are requiring 7