News

Grant feature: Ending hunger for homeless children

Dec 07, 2016

Students receive their weekend meals thanks to the Snack Pack Club.

Imagine you’re a young child on your first day of school—and you discover that you’re different from many of your classmates. Other students arrive with a lunchbox in hand, ready to start the day. You arrive weary—not to mention, you’re very hungry. When the bell rings on Friday, the other students jump out of their seats to leave for their homes. You wonder where you’ll sleep tonight. And whether you’ll eat.
 
This is a reality for nearly 650 students in Mendocino County, California. Luckily for the community, the Kiwanis Club of Ukiah has actively addressed this issue. And gifts to the Kiwanis Children’s Fund helped make it happen.
 
“School staff reported that students were ravenous on Monday mornings,” says Ukiah club member Steven Lincoln. “No student can be expected to study and learn at their best if they’re hungry.”
 
Thanks to a grant from the Kiwanis Children’s Fund, club members bought more food for their “Snack Pack Club.” It’s a program that assembles and distributes a two-day supply of nutritious, non-perishable food to be provided to homeless children in nearby schools for the weekend.
 
But the impact goes far beyond the meals. According to the American Psychological Association, homeless children are twice as likely to experience hunger as their non-homeless peers, negatively affecting their physical, social, emotional and cognitive development.
 
“This outreach not only improves their health, energy and ability to learn but provides a vision of what their life could be,” adds Steven. “When the public takes action to provide for a child’s basic needs, that child is far more likely to embrace the values that make a community strong and safe.”
 
Gifts to the Kiwanis Children’s Fund are part of that effort. They transform kids’ spirits and improve their futures. And the Snack Pack Club is just one of many examples.