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The Send Hunger Packing Program provides food to chronically hungry school children from low-income households who are at risk of hunger over the weekend when free school meals are unavailable. Backpacks are distributed on Fridays or the last day before a holiday. Backpacks are stored at sites in a secure area until distribution day. Bags are given to children in non-descript backpacks or they can carry their bag in their own backpack. Food and informational flyers for the backpacks are packed by volunteers. Each child is given enough food to make 7 meals for 3-4 people.
Program Objectives: • Provide children at-risk of hunger and their immediate family members with nutritious food for preparation and consumption at home • Distribute food within safe sites that offer easy access to the children being served • Involve additional resources and partners in order to assure sustainability of the program
Program Outcomes: • Reduce health problems in children served by mitigating negative consequences of under nutrition • Remove the barrier of hunger that contributes to poor school performance • Empower school personnel to take direct action to benefit hungry children • Increase awareness among parents and guardians of resources available to low-income families in their community • Increase awareness of positive nutrition to students’ families
HOW ARE CHILDREN SELECTED FOR THE PROGRAM?Counselors, teachers and nurses identify students who display signs of chronic hunger. Warning signs include stomach aches, dizziness, difficulty concentrating, hoarding food from the cafeteria and absenteeism. Once identified by a school teacher or nurse, the student’s parents are sent a permission slip to enroll the student in the program.
WHAT FOOD ITEMS ARE INCLUDED IN THE BACKPACK?Items include peanut butter; canned tuna, chicken, or turkey; skillet meals; macaroni and cheese; soup; canned vegetables and fruit; cereal or oatmeal; Food for 3-4 family members for 7 meals are packed in the bags.
HOW MANY SITES CURRENTLY PARTICIPATE?Care and Share had 38 sites enrolled for the 2013/2014 school year. Click here to see a breakdown of sites by counties.
HOW CAN I HELP FUND A CHILD OR SCHOOL ON THE PROGRAM? It costs approximately $430 to provide one child with weekend and holiday food for a whole school year. This includes the cost of the backpack, food for each week, supplies, transportation and program administration. To sponsor a child, call Stacy Poore, Chief Development Officer, at (719) 434-4679 or email her at Stacy@careandshare.org .
HOW DO I BECOME A SITE?There is currently a waitlist to become a Send Hunger Packing site. For more information about the program or to be added to the waitlist, please contact Jennifer Mariano, Director of Programs at 719-434-4676 or Jennifer@careandshare.org
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