Food 4 Kids Program
by Eleanor Simons
Grace Church Members will have a chance to help the Food 4 Kids program during the month of February as we will be collecting food for this project. Craig Baggs, member of Grace, serves on the Interfaith board and is also chair of the Food 4 Kids program. To learn more about the program I emailed Craig.
Craig responded, "When I was a child, I was told to eat all the food on my plate, as there was a child starving on the other side of the world. When I became involved in volunteering at Interfaith Emergency Services (IES) I learned that since 2004 the Food 4 Kids program has provided a backpack of food for local children that may otherwise not eat over the weekend. You read it correctly, they have no food the entire weekend. I also learned that IES is currently working with over 30 participating schools, as the need is great to create 19,000 monthly meals to nearly 120 students, right here in Ocala/Marion County. The pandemic created additional challenges for both our food distributors and our receiving families. Whether you choose to donate towards sponsoring a child ($25 a month) or make a food donation, your prayers and gifts of any size will make a difference in the life of a local child."
No one should have to go hungry, especially children. Food 4 Kids was started when school teachers found that many of their students were not being fed over the weekend. These children had school lunches during the school day, but during weekends and holidays they were hungry. Food 4 Kids enables children to start the school week focusing on learning and not hunger.
Guidance counselors at the schools provide the names of children who need help with food. Volunteers pack rolling backpacks full of food for each household. The backpacks are delivered to the school and tagged for each child. The child takes the backpack home on Friday and returns it to school on Monday. Then the process starts again.
Most needed are: Applesauce, Vienna Sausage, and individual serving Pudding Cups. Other items usually included in the backpacks are: Canned meat, cereal, crackers, juice boxes, non-candy snacks, peanut butter and jelly, pop tarts, fruit cups.