More than 2,500 children qualify for the federal free or reduced-price meal program in the Shoreline School District. During the school week, most of these children depend on the meals their school offers. Sometimes, the meals at school are the only ones they get. When the school closes it doors on Friday afternoon, many of these children go home to empty cupboards and empty bellies for 65 hours until they return to school on Monday morning. Around the area, you’ll find many teachers who can tell you about a student who came to school on Monday, not reluctant to start the school week but eager to get back to school after going through Friday evening, all day Saturday, and all day Sunday without a square meal—or knowledge of a source for their next meal. Those children are the reason we started the Weekend Backpack Programs. Who will feed them this weekend?
The Weekend Backpack Programs ensure that children in need have balanced, nutritious food they need to learn and grow. The concept is simple: children at risk of weekend hunger receive a bag of food that is child-friendly, nutritious, nonperishable, and easy to prepare and eat.
Each Backpack offers enough food that children can easily assemble into six healthy meals over the weekend when schools are unable to provide breakfasts or lunches. By partnering with churches, community organizations, school staff, and our local school district, the Backpacks are distributed to children in need through the schools—discreetly—each Friday afternoon or before a long holiday weekend.
For students in need, the program:
Improves attention span
Raises academic performance
Increases self esteem
In 2009, the first grass roots effort began in Shoreline after Polly Terman watched a 60 Minute special on child poverty. Wanting to offer food, love and hope to hungry kids in Shoreline, she began Backpack Kids out of her faith community, Calvin Presbyterian. Since that time, Polly has been instrumental in recruiting and encouraging other churches and organizations to begin to make a difference in our Shoreline community. Today, bags of food are assembled at more than 11 local churches and organizations and then distributed to more than 250 children at the end of the week. But for every child who benefits, there are many more still going without. With your help, we can provide more food to more children in need.
Food4Kids mobilizes communities, individuals and resources to provide food on the weekends for school children and youth in the Shoreline School District who might otherwise go hungry.
Food4Kids Shoreline was formed to help raise awareness and empower individuals and communities to take action. Each food pack costs between $9 per child per week, which adds up to $36 per month or $325 per year to support one child. Multiplied by 10, 20, or 50, these numbers can be significant -- and yet we have already seen what can happen when individuals come together and give sacrificially of their time and resources. Every contribution, big or small, collectively adds up to something quite astonishing. Alone we can do so little, together we can do so much.
Our mission is that every school-aged child in the Shoreline School District has the nourishment needed to learn and grow. As a leader in the movement to end childhood hunger, Food4Kids strives to ensure children don't go hungry on the weekends by empowering individuals and communities to take action.
Imagine a Community Where No Child Goes Hungry
Food4Kids Advisory Board
Food4Kids Shoreline is a community effort led by an Advisory Board consisting of representatives across the Shoreline and Lake Forest Park communities.
Polly Terman, Calvin Presbyterian
Jessica Ketola, Turning Point
Leslie Eck, Lake Forest Park Presbyterian
Betty Blackburn, Shoreline Free Methodist
This advisory board will collaborate to raise awareness in the community and resource weekend backpack programs to expand their efforts in order to feed more children throughout the district, granting funds raised to programs ready to scale.
Turning Point is the Fiscal Agent and a registered nonprofit agency.