(Atlantic) Atlantic Schools Wellness Coordinator DeeAnn Schriener recently received approval for the “Friday Friends Back Pack Program.” DeeAnn Schriener shared the program with the Atlantic School Board Monday night.
“I have had several instances this school year in which students would come to me on Monday morning saying that they had not eaten all weekend,” stated Schreiner. “It was pretty touching and I knew I needed to pursue this program a little bit further.”
Schriener says she received approval from the Food Bank of the Heartland to participate in the Friday Friends-Back Pack Program and it is off and going. Her initial goal was to start with about 15-back packs and she is currently up to 144.
“Fifty-two percent of our students in our community get their breakfast or lunch at school for a reduced price or for free. But when school is closed on weekends and holidays, many of these children go hungry,” said Schriener.
Friday friends provides children in need with a bag of nutritious food that they can take home on Fridays and easily prepare the food themselves.
“The beauty of our program is that the students do not have to be on free and reduced,” said Schriener. “ Several families in our district have been denied free and reduced lunch because their income may be over the guidelines by just a few dollars. These are some of the kids that fall through the cracks.”
Schriener says good nutrition is critical to good health and success at school. She says children who don’t get enough to eat often have trouble concentrating, lower Math and English scores, difficulty interacting with their peers, trouble finishing tests on time, and lower graduation rates.
Schriener says they are partnering with the Food Bank of the Heartland, Atlantic Food Pantry, Hy Vee and Community support. People may either make a financial donation or purchase food at Hy Vee.
“We will need to raise $15-to-$30,000 in order to supplement the bags,” says Schriener, who plans to do a campaign to raise additional funds.
The program starts February 1st and runs through May.
January 13, 2014