About eight years ago, Dyron Howell was watching the news when he saw a story that caught his attention.
“A teacher in Bowie, Texas had to witness her student licking the plate in the cafeteria,” Howell said. “She was like ‘Oh my goodness. What’s going on that my student needs to lick their plate?”
Howell tells us what the teacher witnessed made her realize some of her students were going without food on the weekends.
“Shes comes out at the end and says, ‘If you don’t think this is going on in your community, you need to take the blindfold off’,” Howell said.
With his eyes wide open, Howell saw a similar problem facing his area and began Snack Pak 4 Kids.
“Our goal when we started was by 2015 – the end of this year – that every kid or every neighborhood in the Texas Panhandle has access to a program like this,” Howell said.
During the program’s beginning, Howell and his crew were feeding ten kids. But five years later, Snack Pak 4 Kids is well on its way to achieving the goal originally set out.
“We now serve over 6,500 kids across the Texas Panhandle,” Howell said.
But for Howell and everyone else involved in the program, it’s more than just filling children’s stomachs with food; It’s making them feel valued.
One student even writing to them, “Getting my Snack Pak makes me feel like I am loved and cared for.”
Another reads, “It makes me feel like we won’t struggle with food. It is like we will always live and never starve.”
Howell says another important mission for the program is improving education.
“You can’t learn anything on an empty stomach,” Howell said.
Hundreds of teachers have said they’ve seen an improvement in their students’ academic performance, giving the credit to Snack Pak 4 Kids, according to Howell.