Elizabeth Marie Himchak, of the San Diego Union-Tribune, highlighted UniteNCI in her feature article on April 25, 2018, in which she writes, “A new nonprofit organization created to collectively combine resources to address community needs – such as feeding low-income children when they are not in school”.
Himchak further explains how, “Unite North County Inland originated through the Church at Rancho Bernardo, but combines the efforts of those int he region’s business, civic, and faith communities.” Shari Foster, UniteNCI’s coordinator describes Unite’s origins, “It started with the church, but is not a faith-based initiative because a lot of people are turned off by religion…Our goal is to help people in need without selling the church (aspect)”.
“(We learned that) 80 percent of students in the Escondido School District, and a lot in Poway too, qualified for free breakfast, lunch, and supper (at school)”, however Foster goes on to explain the real issues lie outside of the school week, because after analyzing the students home lives, they soon discovered that these students food insecurities spilled over into the weekends and holidays. UniteNCI began their initiatives by supplying those students with enough meals during the school year so whether it was during the week or on the weekends, these students had a meal to count on. Himchak goes on to explain how, “After helping students on weekends during the school year – an effort that Foster said will cost about $200 per child per school year – the next challenge will be how to continue making sure the children are fed during the summer vacation…She said 1 in 5 students between the two school districts meet the need qualifications”.