Woodward, Okla. —
Dozens of local elementary students would go hungry over weekends during the school year if it wasn't for the Food for Kids program.
Sponsored by the Regional Food Bank of Oklahoma (RFBO), Food for Kids "provides chronically hungry children, identified by school personnel, with backpacks filled with non-perishable, kid-friendly food to eat on weekends and school holidays," according to the RFBO website regionalfoodbank.org.
Currently a fundraising drive is being held state-wide to benefit the Food for Kids program in its efforts to help keep young students from going hungry. As part of this drive, all tax-deductible donations made through Sept. 30 to Food for Kids will be matched up to $100,000.
According to an RFBO press release, the matching funds are provided thanks to donations from Trusted Choice, Independent Insurance Agents of Oklahoma, Top of the World and an anonymous family donor.
HOW THE PROGRAM GOT STARTED
Lisa Perry, manager of regional giving with the RFBO, said that the Food for Kids was started when a principal from an Oklahoma City school told them about a boy that had passed out in the lunch line and stated the only thing he had to eat over the weekend was a hot dog.
"That was when we started the backpack program, where students are given enough food to last them through the weekend," Perry said.
For students to be placed on the program, it is up to the teachers to watch for signs during meals and in the classroom that a child might be chronically hungry, Perry said.
"We ask teachers to watch the children to see if any are going through the lunch lines two or three times and asking others for their leftovers and putting them in their pockets," she said.