By Amber Fields
Wash. Co. Extension Summer Intern
Hunger doesn’t take a break for the summer or rest on the weekends; hunger is a constant fight for those who live with food instability. Over the summer months, it’s easy for children to forget some knowledge acquired during a rigorous school year; but for children who are burdened with hunger, that is one thing that they won’t forget during the summer vacation.
The effort to raise money for the Washington County Food for Kids Backpack program doesn’t stop just because the school year has ceased. With the support of community members, the Washington 4-H Program continues to raise money to support children in our community for the upcoming school year. The amount of money collected for the following school year will determine the amount of children that will be able to participate in the Food for Kids Backpack Program in the fall of 2012.
The Food for Kids Backpack Program relies on Feeding America, also known as America’s Second Harvest, for the distribution of the food to the county schools. This allows the program to purchase more food at a cheaper price. Feeding America provides a variety of food that is delivered to children in our community for the small price of just $2 per bag of food. Through this charity, the Food for Kids Backpack Program has been able to feed hundreds of children since the program was implemented in our community in 2001. Since then, it has been a continuous effort to feed hungry children in Washington County.
In order to continue the ability to help the children who live with the fear of an empty pantry, enough donations must be collected before the beginning of the upcoming school year. As the price per child increases to $100 this year, it will hinder the ability to help those children in need with the program’s current insufficient funds. It’s a continuous problem in our community; therefore, we must continue to put up a fight against the morbid reality that hungry children do exist in our community.
Feeding America requires that all funds for the Washington County Food for Kids Backpack Program be in place by Aug. 1. Donations are accepted yearly; however, the money must be paid in full for each child at the beginning of the program to Feeding America before food can be distributed weekly. It is important to collect as many donations before August first since the amount of funds in the program account will be designated to which students will be sponsored throughout the school year. For the lack of funds on August first, that will leave some students unable to participate in the program for the school year.
Having to turn away any child who lives with food instability is not something that is chosen, but it is a grim decision that will have to be made by individuals that manage this program if the proper funds are not available. It’s hard to instill in any child facing hunger the hope of one day escaping its thresholds when they are turned away from such a great opportunity. Those working with the Food for Kids Backpack program want to avoid this action and will continue to work hard in raising awareness and the needed funds for this program.
The 4-H Foods for Kids Backpack Program will be participating in the community celebration of Independence Day on July 3 in downtown Springfield. Tickets can be purchased for $1 each to win a Thirty-One Market Thermal Tote filled with Kentucky Proud Products. All proceeds will benefit the Food for Kids Backpack Program. Come by and gain knowledge about the Washington County Food for Kids Backpack Program and make your contribution by participating in the giveaway. That small donation could contribute to something much larger for a child living in a food insecure home.