It's hard to believe, but hundreds of kids in our local community are going without food. The 2 days that children are away from school over the weekend can sometimes mean that don't have anything to eat - nothing for 2 whole days! Hunger has become a way of life for them.
Upon learning about Food4Kids, it was impossible not to get involved. It is a wonderful program that supplies bags of food for kids to take home on the weekends, when they typically would have nothing to eat. Currently, there are 800 kids in Hamilton that are enrolled in this program, estimated to increase to 1,200 by January 2016. It's hard to believe that hunger is an issue in our community, so helping to supply food for these children is the very least we could do.
Food4Kids provides packages of healthy food for kids with limited or no food during weekend periods. Packages of healthy foods are prepared by volunteers and delivered to schools each Friday to ensure children have nourishment over the weekend.
For many children, hunger is not an occasional missed meal... it is a way of life. Children are often helpless in controlling the food supply in their homes. Food4Kids ensures children leaving school each Friday with an insufficient food supply in their home, are provided with nourishment vital to their physical, emotional, cognitive, social and academic success.
Participants aged 5 – 14 years are referred by schools aware of children with limited access to food in their homes. The school submits a referral form and signed parental permission form. At the school, the food package is tucked into the child's backpack. This helps shield the child from any stigma associated with hunger or receiving food assistance. The cost per backpack is $10.00 or $400 to feed a child for an entire school year. Programs are 100% funded by community donors or one-time grants.
Targeted: Food4Kids ensures provision of food is provided to our community’s most impoverished children, ensuring food is provided to those most in need
Non-Stigmatizing: Food is delivered and remains in the school office. During the school day, the food package is quietly tucked into the child’s backpack so no one is aware of who receives food packages
Healthy Food: While we are not bound by any restrictions, the food provided meets provincial guidelines (with the exception of goldfish crackers!) Apples, oranges, stews, soups, cereal, whole grains, fibre cookies are foods included in packages each week
Ample Food Provided: Each child receives their own food package. For the little ones, not yet in school, we pack their own little bag, so they can get excited when their sibling comes home with their food package.
Food4Kids is long-term. Once the program is established, it will continue indefinitely
Our focus: pure and simple: Food4Kids meets a single community need: child hunger
Funding: Food4Kids is not in receipt of any core funding. We have successfully launched and sustained programs through donations from individuals, groups, corporations or one time grants
Food4Kids was established Nov 2011. We launched a pilot program April – June, 2012 in three Hamilton schools feeding 65 kids. We now facilitate programs in 72 Hamilton and Halton schools providing food for 1057 kids each and every weekend. We do this through a skeleton staff of 1 full-time and 3 part-time staff and an army of passionate and dedicated volunteers!
While many social issues are beyond our scope for change, we CAN ensure any child spending entire weekends without food, can depend on Food4Kids to ensure they have a healthy weekend food supply.
Please contact: Lena Bassford 905-741-0060 or firstname.lastname@example.org