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Providing weekend meals to homeless children

Feb 21, 2018

Snack PackHow do you ensure that more than 200 homeless children have enough food to get them through the weekend? In Mendocino County, California, you work with the local Kiwanis club.

In more than two years, the Kiwanis Club of Ukiah has purchased, packaged and delivered more than 18,000 meals to homeless children in 27 different schools throughout the county, thanks to a grant from the Kiwanis Children’s Fund and the support of our generous donors.

Every week throughout the school year, Kiwanians bundle two nutritious meals into a “Snack Pack,” containing two sets of ultra-pasteurized milk, cereal, soup, packaged fruit, packaged proteins and snack bars.

“Since students’ living situations often consist of living out of cars or in makeshift campgrounds, none of the food requires cooking or refrigeration,” shares Steve Lincoln, member of the Kiwanis Club of Ukiah.

After packaging the Snack Packs, Kiwanians then deliver them to schools each week, with free assistance from United Parcel Service (UPS) for schools up to three hours away.

Naturally, the Mendocino County community has rallied behind this project’s success. The Ukiah Grocery Outlet offers its food to the project at-cost. The First Baptist Church of Ukiah provides storage, packing space and volunteers. For the project’s second year, UPS agreed to deliver the food to schools in more remote areas of the county, free of charge. And many other community members and businesses have contributed to the project financially or through in-kind donations. 

Now in its third school year, the program continues to grow and gain community support. The number of homeless students has increased this year after wildfires impacted Mendocino County this past October. The club currently provides about 1,000 meals per month.

The Kiwanians in Ukiah rallied together to tackle their community’s needs. The Children’s Fund is proud to have been a part of that, providing nearly 6,700 meals with our grant. And we’re so grateful to our donors for making that support possible.

If you’re a Kiwanian looking to tackle your community’s needs, read up on our Club Grant program. And if you want to hear about more stories like these, subscribe to our monthly e-newsletter.