Packs for Kids
The importance of proper nutrition for a growing child is well documented. Hungry kids have decreased attention spans, increased behavioral problems, and more school absences due to sickness. Simply put, hungry kids can’t learn as well, and when they fall behind academically as young children, it is very hard to ever catch-up. Free meals in school certainly help, but they are not enough. After all, school is only Monday through Friday.
Through collaboration with four local Seattle public schools, University District Food Bank provides meals and snacks to children who are at risk of going hungry on the weekend when free or reduced school meals are unavailable. These packs of food contain items that are age-appropriate, nutritious, simple to prepare, and easy to take home in a school bag.
Packs for Kids is a program that succeeds because of the hard work done by our school partners. School staff identify youth for the program and ensure that food gets to them every Friday afternoon. Parent volunteers collect the food from the food bank, take it to the school, and package the food into individualized portions so that it is ready to go. And the food bank works to ensure that all the food we need is available to our partner schools – Eckstein Middle School, Jane Addams K-8, Olympic View Elementary, and Sacajawea Elementary.
During the 2012-13 school year, we distributed almost 5,000 packs of food. And these packs made an immediate and positive difference. Says a 6th grader receiving a pack,
“before we got the packs, we didn’t have enough food on the weekend… now we have food for snacks and lunch, things are better now.”
A teacher remarked about a student receiving a Packs for Kids bag, “he has more stamina in taking on challenging assignments and his grades have improved significantly.”