9/13/2012 9:26:00 AM Backpack food for the weekend
New nutrition program starting next month
by DENISE MARTIN
A well-received program that’s been used in Wisconsin to help fight hunger in children, is being adapted for kids who attend school here. Family Pathways and Trinity Church of Lindstrom are going to distribute food to help feed youngsters over the weekends. October is when the first kids should start to receive food goods at the end of the school week, to take home. For many children, school breakfast and lunch might be their only source of nutrition. And, that big gap between Friday and Monday has long been a concern for people who volunteer and work in anti-hunger programs. Taylors Falls School Principal Joe Thimm worked with Trinity and Family Pathways, recently sending out letters to every family with kids at his school, asking if they’d be interested in the Food-4-Kids Backpack Program starting this fall. Stephanie Schneider, of Trinity Church, said the idea was to not leave anybody out. Whoever could benefit needs to know they are welcome, and students’ families don’t have to be enrolled in any other school or assistance programs. “We want the kids to understand that we want them to take food home, we hope this will be a positive thing,” Schneider explained. She says the district superintendent selected Taylors Falls Elementary to pilot backpack weekend food distribution. On Fridays the kids will get bags of food items to supplement their weekend nutrition needs. The plan is to provide food items for two breakfasts, two snacks, two lunches and a can of fruit and can of veggies to each kid. Students all carry backpacks so the food goods will be discreetly placed into backpacks before students leave on Friday. Schneider said this means the food bags are filled and organized for delivery to the school by Thursday night. Volunteers are certainly invited to work just on this. Coordinators think 100 Taylors Falls school kids will be provided food. If you’d like to support this with a donation of cash, the program expects to distribute about $9,000 in food over the school year. Make checks payable to Family Pathways, put Food4Kids Backpack in your check memo line. Mail to Family Pathways 1575 First Ave. East in Cambridge, MN 55008. The food shelf where the backback food bags will be assembled is in Lindstrom; inside the old “Many Voices” bookseller building on mainstreet, (there’s also a rear door off Newell Ave.) east of the Veterans Memorial. You are always welcome to directly donate food items to the food shelf. If you want to volunteer contact the Lindstrom Food Shelf at 257-1308.