School meal programs are vital for struggling families. With the start of a new school year just around the corner, many kids and parents are looking forward to the security of two dependable meals each weekday.
But, as you know, free and reduced-price meals don’t completely solve the problem of childhood hunger. Many students are vulnerable over the weekend if their caregivers don’t have the means to afford nutritious food.
The North Texas Food Bank’s Food 4 Kids Program helps keep kids fed through the weekend, by providing chronically hungry children with backpacks containing healthy, easy to eat meals.
Joe Guerin, school counselor at Lee Elementary in Denton, has run the Food 4 Kids program for the past four years. Most of the children he serves come from low-income families, and he knows just how much of an impact Food 4 Kids is making on them. Joe says it is especially helpful for students with transient living situations who reside in motels and aren’t always able to prepare meals.
“The backpack is a way to get them through the weekend,” he says. “We make sure they get something; make sure to give them a little hope.”
What Joe really appreciates about the Food 4 Kids program is the relationships he is able to form with his students. He says kids are more motivated to make an effort at school when they have close ties with teachers and counselors. It also helps parents become more invested in their children’s education.
Nearly 40 girls and boys receive backpacks full of food from Lee Elementary, which is just one of 11 schools in Denton that offer the program. On behalf of the students we serve together, Joe wants to share his gratitude for your support. “Thank you for everything you do,” he says. “Even something as simple as a backpack on a weekend can make a big difference in a child’s life.”