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Tuesday, November 11, 2014

A program to help stop young kids from going hungry on the weekend

It’s hard to imagine little kids in elementary school going hungry on the weekends in Pinellas County, but it is true. One statistic I read says about 10-15% of the kids in the Tampa Bay area on the free or reduced lunch program don’t have food at home on the weekends. Until my eyes were opened to a community outreach program of United Methodist Cooperative Ministries/Suncoast called Pack-A-Sack 4 Kids, I would have never thought that kids in our community didn’t have food on their table at home.

During the school year, these kids are able to get breakfast and lunch at school, but when school isn’t in session some don’t have food to eat.

I am involved in a mom bible study and one of our members had a passion to help a school in her neighborhood that she had heard needed help feeding kids on the weekends. Our group decided we would make this our mission project. We adopted the elementary school at the end of school last year.

We started out slow only able to feed eight kids a week on the weekends. Our bible study isn’t huge, so this was the number we could do. This year, the principal asked us if we could feed 40 kids. Of course, we couldn’t say no, so we are doing everything we can to find the money and resources to help feed 40 hungry kids.
What is amazing is so far we have been able to pack the sacks for the kids. One of the moms in our group is a phenomenal coupon clipper and knows how to get the best deals for our money. We save our coupons or flyers we get in the mail and give them to her. She organizes the coupons and shops for some of the food.

The other part of the food is now being paid for by a grant someone so graciously gave us. We are able to buy the food in bulk and it is delivered right to where our bible study meets. We are able to divide the food and put it in the sacks and our project coordinator delivers it to the school. The food we purchase is about $3 per kid and is food that has a long shelf life like cereals, peanut butter, crackers, condensed milk, canned fruit etc.

The idea of the program is to buy nutritional food for the kids and keep them from going hungry on the days they aren’t in school. This Pack A Sack 4 Kids program works with the school boards in not only Pinellas, but also Manatee and Pasco Counties.

If you want to help donate to Pack-A-Sack 4 kids call Lewis Hill at 727.644.4795 or email me and you can partner with our bible study.

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