How can a child focus on learning a math problem or memorizing a new word when he or she is trying to ignore the persistent pangs of hunger? Members of the FCCLA No Kid Hungry Advocacy group recently met with school, church and community representatives to discuss the problem of local child hunger.
Students Rachel Cross, Ashlee Hicks and Hally Koehn, along with other members of Family Relationships class, are working to raise awareness in the community about child food insecurity.
At a meeting Jan. 10 of local “Hunger Warriors”, the Elementary School Backpack Program was identified as a top priority for helping kids in our community because in some instances, teachers and school nurses have found that when Monday morning comes they are forced to compete against hunger for the attention of their students. More than two-thirds of El Dorado Springs school children receive free and reduced lunches through the School Lunch Program during the week, but what happens to these children when they go home for the weekend or school breaks?
The El Dorado Springs Backpack program strives to identify severely at-risk children and provide easy-to-prepare food needed to get through the weekend. Currently about 25 children are being served, but many more are in need. Backpacks usually only contain 6-8 items for an entire weekend, and in addition to serving more children, the committee would like to provide more food items and foods that are more nutritious. You can help the El Dorado Springs Hunger Awareness group provide assistance to families in need in these ways:
DONATE FOOD: Typical backpack items include these kinds of foods: Instant oatmeal single serving packets, single serving breakfast cereal, cheese and crackers, fruit cups, breakfast bars, cooked mini meals or cup of soup, single serving mac and cheese, non-refrigerated milk, pull-tab canned foods, boxed juice drinks, bottled water, hotel-sized soap, shampoo, personal care products and toilet paper
DONATE FUNDS: Backpack foods cost about $5 per student per week. Any donations are appreciated – for $20 per month, you could sponsor a child.
DONATE TIME: Volunteers are always needed to sort food, fill backpacks, and other tasks.
To contribute, volunteer or for more information, contact your home church, or call the Hunger Awareness group at 417-876-3526, or the El Dorado Springs Elementary Office at 417-876-3112. You may also visit the FCCLA Hunger Awareness website at http://bit.ly/WbI8O9.
NOT MUCH FOOD FOR A WEEKEND – Students Haley Bosch, Kimberlee Rodgers, Hally Koehn, Rachel Cross and Ashlee Hicks showing the contents of a Backpack