For most kids, the end of summer is a bittersweet time to prepare for the upcoming school year. Long days at the pool are coming to an end, and stores are full of students and parents purchasing new school supplies, backpacks, lunch bags and plenty of snacks to fill those lunch bags. For a lot of children, the beginning of the school year brings comfort because they no longer have to wonder, “Where is my next meal coming from?” Thanks to breakfast and lunch subsidy programs during the school year, there is less worry for children about mealtimes.
Even though breakfast and lunch is provided while at school, thousands of students in East Tennessee eat lunch on Friday, and that meal is often the last one they eat until they head back to school on Monday. It is a heavy thought, but let it sink in. Imagine eating lunch at work on Friday and not eating all weekend….
While hungry tummies are the main concern, this issue produces a snowball effect to a child. When a child is hungry, they cannot focus on school work. When they cannot focus on school work, their grades begin to slip. When their grades begin to slip, they fall behind their classmates; however, this vicious cycle can be prevented with your help.
The Food for Kids program is designed to provide healthy, easily-prepared food to the children in our community who would otherwise be missing meals. The students are identified by the teacher in the school and are discretely given food for themselves (and any other siblings they may have at home) every Friday throughout the school year. The program is currently in all 18 counties in our service area, serving more than 12,500 children a year, with hopes to expand the program even further in our community.
This program leaves a tremendous impact on the students, as noted by this story from a teacher, “We have a student whose family has lost their house, and this student is currently living in a hotel with about 10-12 other people. This child has been struggling to find food on the weekend to eat. We have caught this student shoving food in her jacket to take home over the weekend. She was quickly added to our list. Since receiving her food bag, we have noticed a complete change in her behavior and overall attitude. She is no longer hoarding food because she knows each weekend she has food to eat. I do not know where our school would be without this program.”
So, what are some ways that you can help?
- Sponsor a child. For just $100, a child can receive Food fo know of a child that attends a school in your area? You can designate your donation to go toward a specific school of your choice.
- Donate food. Because we want to make sure our little ones are getting healthy and nutritious food, we accept very specific donations for Food for Kids. Fruit cups, peanut butter crackers, apple sauce, granola bars and oatmeal are examples of the food donations we accept for this program.
For more information on our Food for Kids program, please contact Sam Compton.