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.
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 local churches and organizations and then distributed to children across the district at the end of the week.
Food4Kids mobilizes churches, 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.
Our mission is to show neighborly love and care so that every school-aged child in the Shoreline School District has the nourishment needed to learn and grow.
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
Leslie Eck, Lake Forest Park Presbyterian
Betty Blackburn, Shoreline Free Methodist
Sharon Quackenbush, Cristwood Park
Alison Neubauer, Calvin Presbyterian
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.
Food4Kids Shoreline seeks to resource our community to ensure that no child goes hungry and that every child with need goes home with enough food for the weekend. You can help make this possible by donating funds or volunteering at the specific partner organizations listed below. Make a difference in the life of a child today!
NORTH CITY ELEMENTARY
LAKE FOREST PARK ELEMENTARY
ORG: SHORELINE FREE METHODIST CHURCH
CONTACT: JEFF HORTON