“The only way that we’re going to break the cycle of poverty is for them to get an education but they can’t learn if they’re hungry,” said Ashley York, Snack Pak 4 Kids Director of Operations.
That’s the mission of Snack Pak 4 Kids, to end weekend hunger for less fortunate elementary through high school students here in the Texas panhandle.
“There are plenty of programs in place that take care of Monday through Friday but we exist specifically to take care of the weekends so that they can show up ready to learn Monday mornings,” said York.
It all started almost a decade ago when Snack Pak founder Dyron Howell and his wife started feeding ten kids from Rogers Elementary. Since then, you could say the program has really taken off.
“We serve about 10,000 kids in the Texas panhandle each week. We have a buying cooperative that we’ve established that other back pack programs purchase off of as well. Through our buying cooperative, we feed about 20,000 kids a week,” said York.
Every other Tuesday during the school year and once a month during the summer, volunteers from all over the community pack thousands and thousands of bags full of food to deliver to students in area schools that are in a food-insecure situation at home.
Once the bags arrive at school, volunteers or teachers put those bags in the students’ back packs or lockers to make sure that it’s done discreetly.
“So much of our community and bonding takes place over a meal at a table. It’s important for me to make sure that our kids have what they need but even more than that, it’s important to make sure that they’re engaged and ready to learn in school,” said York.
York also says that they couldn’t do what they do without the help of their volunteers, including Larry Boyer and his wife, who have been helping out for three and a half years now.
“There are kids that really need something to eat on the weekend and when we saw the need. we saw the number of bags that are packed and the number of bags that go out each week, this is something that we really need to support,” said Boyer.
Their support will continue to change lives.
“The things they can do, oh my gosh they can change the world when they’re full and so when they have everything that they need. The things they can do are incredible,” said York.
For more information on how you can help out Snack Pak 4 Kids, click on this link: https://www.sp4k.org/start-a-snack-pak-4-kids