Addressing Childhood Hunger

Posted on December 16, 2010

Too many children in St. Clair County are hungry.  During school, at-risk students receive breakfast and lunch, but many have little or no food on the weekends.  According to Donnilee Hernandez, Principal at Woodrow Wilson Elementary School “Hunger is such a big issue for children today.”  To help change that, the Friday Food program is now offered in four St. Clair County elementary schools:  Algonac, Cleveland, Belle River and Woodrow Wilson.

In addition to feeding a hungry child, the Friday Food program is designed to impact at-risk student’s attendance, reduce behavior issues and increase their attention span.  Every Friday, kids participating in the program receive a backpack filled with easy-to-prepare and ready-to-eat food. On Monday, students return the backpack and the cycle continues.  Food is purchased in bulk so it only takes $100 to provide one low income student with a backpack full of food every Friday for an entire school year.  Kathleen Payton coordinates the weekend food program at the Food Bank of Eastern MI.  Mrs. Payton sees firsthand that “Children, who do not eat over the weekend, do not do well in school.” She adds that “Nutrition and education go hand in hand”.   

Cargill Friday Food Cargill Salt agrees that the Friday Food program is a great way to help at-risk kids succeed.  Cargill made a $10,000 gift to sponsor 100 at-risk kids at Algonac Elementary School.  Alice Grant is on the Cargill Cares Committee and shares that “Cargill is proud to be able to help provide such a needed program at Algonac Elementary School.  The Friday Food for Kids program fits well into our 3 focus areas:  Nutrition & Health, Environment and Education.” 

The number of low income students able to participate is dependent on community donations.  The Community Foundation is helping to raise awareness of the need and collecting donations of any size for each participating school. 

For more information or to donate, contact the Community Foundation at 810.984.4761. Checks should be made out to the Community Foundation of SCC with reference to Friday Food and the school you would like to support on the memo line.

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