At the end of September, Food for Others launched a new program to provide weekend food to needy children in Northern Virginia – the Power Pack Program (P3). These are children who get free or reduced-price meals on school days, but who face weekends of little food, or of food with empty calories. The program is just in its initial stages, but already I’ve heard some feedback about P3 from a couple different school contacts:
One teacher recently came to FFO’s Merrifield warehouse to pick up some packs. She mentioned that two kindergarteners came up to her asking if they would be getting packs that week. They really enjoyed them and were looking forward to their next one.
She also mentioned that on the second Friday that her school distributed the packs, the kids actually looked relieved to be getting them. Especially since they knew what the pack might contain after getting the first.
Another teacher from another school told us that her kids have been thrilled to receive the packs. They have one little boy who is currently homeless and it’s been especially helpful to him.
She mentioned that parents have been very grateful for what the Power Pack Program has done for their children. In addition, both teachers have been giving information about Food for Others to parents in need of more food for their families. Letting these families know how they can receive additional assistance from Food for Others is a definite purpose for this P3 initiative.
Apart from the kids who receive these packs, some other kids have begun to understand that they can be part of the P3 program by giving. A few kids who have had birthdays recently have asked their friends who are coming to their parties to bring the specific food items that go into a P3 pack, rather than to bring presents. Then everyone at the party sat down and made packs with the food that was collected.
One little girl came in with almost 100 pounds of food, but she also had a collection box set up at her party. Guests donated a total of $156!
Food for Others expects P3 to grow. There are many more children who face hungry weekends.
Food for Others is looking for more businesses and other organizations willing to partner with a nearby school. Of course, donations of food for the program and funds for food purchases are most welcome too. Potential partners or donors should contact Nikki Clifford at 703-207-9173 about becoming a part of this effort, or with any questions about the program. Or visit the Food for Others website at www.foodforothers.org.