Thanks to an anonymous benefactor, the Vancouver Share Children's Hunger Initiative Program will receive matching dollars up to $25,000 until July 15, 2009! That means a pittance of $100 typically provides food for 10 hungry children in our community and $500 will feed a family for one month. And thanks to this challenge, for the next six weeks the same $100 will feed 20 children and $500 will feed a family for two months! That's huge! The recipients of the benefits of this program are the children and the future of our community. Many of them are the classmates and maybe even the friends of your children. Nothing is more tragic than children going hungry, especially in our own community. Let's all dig out our checkbooks and credit cards and ensure that children don't go hungry here in Clark County. I gave my $100 today, what about you?
Here's the scoop on the Children's Hunger Initiative Program from the Share web site:
In our community, 22,000 children are eligible for free or reduced-cost meals through the schools. Two innovative programs—the Backpack Program and SummerSLAM—have been successful in addressing this alarming truth and providing meals for children in need when school doors are closed.
Operated in partnership with Evergreen Public Schools, Vancouver Public Schools and Washington State University Vancouver/AHAS Program, these programs served 313 children through the 2008 SummerSLAM and 420 children, and their families, each week through the Backpack Program.
Currently, food packs are filled with 5 to 10 pounds of donated, non-perishable, easy-to-prepare food. More than 420 packs are distributed to each of the 23 elementary schools participating in the program. The packs are discretely given out on Friday after school to ensure that children, and their families, have nutritious food to eat over the weekend. Generally, each pack includes a can of vegetables, a can of fruit, a can of beans, a protein (either tuna or peanut butter) and a carbohydrate (either bread of pasta). Each child also receives a small snack item, such as a granola bar.
Share’s SummerSLAM Program (formerly called Summer Lunch Program) will operate this year at two locations, increasing the program capacity by more than 100 students. SummerSLAM provides breakfast, lunch and an art-based curriculum to students grades K-8.
This year’s program will operate in both the Vancouver and Evergreen School Districts: Martin Luther King Elementary, July 20 to Aug. 14, and Silver Star Elementary, July 6 to 31. Parents can sign-up their children at one of two Ice Cream Socials: June 15 at Silver Star and June 16 at King; both socials run from 5:30 to 6:30 p.m; sign-up is also available on the first day of the program.
The purpose of the program, in addition to being a service to the community, is to research the effects of poverty on education. Activities are led by students pursuing their masters in teaching degree at WSU Vancouver, as part of the “At Home at School” (AHAS) Program. The kids have a daily newspaper, computer classes, art classes, build bridges, play golf and even put on a musical at the end of the program. This partnership provides quality learning for the students and is an opportunity for the healthy meals progam to give a helping hand. Additionally, many community volunteers donate their time to provide their own areas of expertise in the arts, languages and sciences.
To support our Children’s Hunger Initiative, contact Tarinn Smith, Hunger Response Director, at (360) 695-7658 ext. 3304.
You can also donate through the Share web site. Please specify in the comments section that you wish to participate in the matching fund challenge for the Children's Hunger Initiative Program. Let's work together and make our goal to not let any children go to bed hungry in our community. Please make your donation today.