We need your help, frankly we need your financial donations right away.
Each week the Pack a Sack program provides delicious and nutritious food for the weekend for elementary school children who might otherwise go hungry. We need your financial support to keep this remarkable ministry going. 100% of what you contribute goes to food. How many charities can make that claim?
UPDATE: One year ago PCC fed 45 children every weekend. In February 2013 we are feeding 314 children every week.
For many years Pasadena Community Church has fed the hungry of Pinellas County through our Food Bank. But through Pack a Sack, we are stepping up to feed hungry children. We will adopted a school and pack a backpack of food for the children in that school who qualify for free lunches. The kids will take that backpack home on Friday afternoons and our healthy snacks will help those children through the weekend.
Watch this video to learn about Pack-a-Sack from one of our volunteers :
- Nearly 14 million children are estimated to be served by Feeding America, over 3 million of which are ages 5 and under. i
- According to the USDA, over 17 million children lived in food insecure (low food security and very low food security) households in 2009. ii
- 20% or more of the child population in 16 states and D.C. are living in food insecure households. The states of Arkansas (24.4 percent) and Texas (24.3 percent) have the highest rates of children in households without consistent access to food. (Cook, John, Child Food Insecurity in the United States: 2006-2008. iii
- The top five states with the highest rate of food insecure children under 18 are Arkansas, Texas, Arizona, Missouri, Mississippi, as well as the District of Columbia
- Proper nutrition is vital to the growth and development of children, particularly for low-income children. 62 percent of all client households with children under the age of 18 participated in a school lunch program, but only 14 percent participated in a summer feeding program that provides free food when school is out. i
- 54 percent of client households with children under the age of 3 participated in the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC). i
- 32 percent of pantries, 42 percent of kitchens, and 18 percent of shelters in the Feeding America network reported “many more children in the summer” being served by their programs. i
- Emergency food assistance plays a vital role in the lives of low-income families. In 2002, more than half of the nonelderly families that accessed a food pantry at least once during the year had children under the age of 18. iv
- 15.5 million or approximately 20.7 percent of children in the U.S. live in poverty.
- Research indicates that even mild undernutrition experienced by young children during critical periods of growth impacts the behavior of children, their school performance, and their overall cognitive development. vi
- In fiscal year 2009, 48 percent of all SNAP participants were children. vii
- During the 2009 federal fiscal year, 19.5 million low-income children received free or reduced-price meals through the National School Lunch Program. Unfortunately, just 2.2 million of these same income-eligible children participated in the Summer Food Service Program that same year.
“Pack-A-Sack 4 Kids” is a community outreach program of United Methodist Cooperative Ministries/Suncoast, Inc., 1625 Union Street, Clearwater, Florida 33755 and area churches. The program is designed to help address the problem of chronic hunger among elementary age children in our public schools. This has been estimated to be approximately 10% of all children eligible for free lunch.
- Working with selected Title I schools to identify those children on free or reduced lunch who meet the criteria of being chronically hungry or having food insecurity.
- To provide to eligible students a nutritious group of snacks who might not have adequate food over the weekends during the academic year.
WHO IS ELIGIBLE?
- Any elementary child in a Title 1 school where teachers feel that they exhibit behaviors that may indicate chronic hunger or food insecurity.*
- Children may be referred to the program by school personnel, classroom teachers or by a child’s parent.
How does one sign up and With Whom?
- The Coordinator for the Pack-A-Sack 4 Kids Program receives a referral form from the designated schools Family & Community Relations Liaison or other designated community contact.
- Referrals to the program may be generated by any school personnel or through parental request. Referrals may be made at any time during the school year.
- The school liaison is responsible for approving all referrals and then contacts the child’s parent and explains the program and invites his/her participation. This may be done either by sending a letter home to the parent or guardian with the child on school letterhead about the program and a Participation Form or by personal contact by the school liaison.
- Prior to receiving his/her first Pack-A-Sack a child must have a signed Parent/Guardian participation form on file.
Who Supplies The Food?
The items in the Pack-A-Sack 4 Kids are paid for and provided by a local United Methodist Church or a collaborative partner. The church or partner has entered into an agreement with United Methodist Cooperative Ministries/Suncoast, Inc. and a particular school for an academic year.
When are Pack-A-Sacks Distributed and by whom?
- Orders for individual Sacks are communicated to the Pack-A-Sack 4 Kids Project Coordinator on Monday of each week. The number of packs needed is then relayed to the assigned church/partner that purchases, packs, prepares and delivers the Sacks to each school and the School Liaison by Friday morning or the last day of the academic week.
- It is the responsibility of the appointed School Liaison in consultation with their principal to determine how and when the Sacks will be distributed.
- Any Pack-A-Sack not picked up by enrolled participants must be stored in a secure, dry place and may be distributed the next week as part of their order.
- On the following Monday, the School Liaison reports to the Pack –A-Sack 4 Kids Program Coordinator the number of sacks on hand and the number needed for that week.
- If there are preschool siblings in the home who are also in need of food enrichment, the School Liaison must also approve their enrollment in the program as well.
What types of items make up a Pack-A-Sack?
- A nutritionist has reviewed all of the items in the weekly Sacks. Items are individually wrapped and sealed at point of purchase.
- No flyers, notes or promotional materials are permitted in the Sack. Except those that may be approved and placed by school personnel.
- Each Sack contains child-friendly shelf stable food items for an average of two days (weekends) or enough for a holiday period.
- Each Sack will contain a combination of 6-10 items:
Fruit Cup, Apple Sauce Cup, Pudding Cup, Individual Beanie Weenies, Stew, Vienna Sausages, Raisins, Cereal Bar, Trail Mix, Cheese Crackers, Crackers, Peanut Butter, individual fruit juice, White/Chocolate Milk (no refrigeration needed), Cereal Bowl, or other items that may be approved as suitable.
- We will make every effort to see that each week there are a different variety of items.
- Each individual assigned church/partner is responsible for seeing that a variety is maintained as much as possible.
- Items for each child will be placed in an individual tied plastic bag and the assigned church will deliver the number of Sacks requested to the school plus clearly marking any Sack that is noted for a child with allergies.
- Each child will be given a nylon drawstring Pack-A-Sack Bag in which to carry his/her food home.
Impact of Service on Our Children:
It is our hope, the School Liaison in charge of distribution will on a regular basis, relate either verbally or in writing comments from parents, teachers or students on the impact of the program to the Pack-A-Sack Program Coordinator so we can share these with the local churches and others.