A BackPacks Giving. By Rachel Kramer.
December 19, 2011
The Child Hunger Corps is a national service program designed to increase the capacity and capability of food banks to execute programs targeted towards the alleviation of child hunger. The objective of the program is to increase the number of nutritious snacks and meals served to children in need in local communities across the country. The Child Hunger Corps initiative is sponsored by the ConAgra Foods Foundation.
In August 2011, the second cohort of 11 new Corps members were placed at Feeding America member food banks, bringing the current total to 17 Child Hunger Corps members working at food banks across the country. This post is by second cohort member Rachel Kramer, Child Hunger Corps member at Feeding America San Diego.
The holidays, no matter the type of celebration, are always a time to be thankful for what we have. Some of the simplest things in our lives that we often overlook develop into the things that we sense the most gratitude towards. Whether it be the roof over our heads, the family and friends in our company, a full day of work, or the food on our plate – all that we have, both tangible and intangible, becomes ever clear.This year, it was clear to us at Feeding America San Diego that despite school’s closed doors and a weeklong break, the BackPack Program had to carry on. To those children who rely on free and reduced-price meals as integral components to their daily diet, a week’s absence from school is far too long. As a part of a pilot series to continue our Feeding Kid’s programming during extended school breaks, we coordinated a Thanksgiving-themed food distribution at three of our BackPack sites in the Cajon Valley Union School District.
After multiple calls and emails to site coordinators, the creation of a trilingual flyer to advertise to families, and several strategic planning sessions to coordinate the truck delivery schedule, the event was a success. Nearly 1000 students alongside loved ones came to their school’s parking lot to pick up a BackPack bag that they otherwise would not have received. In addition, their bag included a recipe and all ingredients for a classic green bean casserole. I was fortunate enough to attend the distribution at Lexington Elementary. Families lined up over an hour in advance to ensure that there was a food bag waiting for them. Thankfully, there was.
As child after child arrived, the severity of the need was transparent, yet so was the appreciation the families felt. Though I overheard an array of conversations between school staff, families, and children, there were three different words that I heard the most. They all meant the same.
Thanks. Gracias. شكرا