New grant helps school children get food weekends and holidays

POSTED: Friday, January 13, 2012 - 2:57pm
UPDATED: Friday, April 13, 2012 - 8:54am

WACO -- Some could not imagine, but for many in McLennan County they don't know where their next meal is coming from.

"There's such an abundance of everything in this country and especially of food, and so to try to connect that abundance to those who are not able to share in that abundance is extremely important," Founder of the McLennan County Hunger Coalition, Kenneth Moerbe said. 

So a few different organizations teamed up, and today, the McLennan County Hunger Coalition received a $22,500 grant from the Valero Energy Foundation.

But the greatest need comes from children, because 1 in 4 children in Texas are food insecure and nearly 26,000 children in McLennan County qualify for free or reduced lunch. The  poverty rate here is almost double the national average of 15 percent.

"I've heard so many horrible, sad stories of children having to go into dipsy dumpsters on the weekend to try to scrounge around for food because they have nothing... how can we let this happen to our children?" President of McLennan County Pack of Hope, Jane Bounds said.

So with the grant from Valero, the Coalition is donating $10,000 to the McLennan County Pack of Hope organization, which provides children who receive free and reduced lunches with food for the weekends and holidays.

Each Friday, the children selected by their school to be a part of Pack of Hope, receive food in their backpacks to last them through the weekend. Those in the program are anonymous, and the items, we're told, are discreetly placed.

"Our hope is to be able to take care of these children, give them food, give them a better education and so they will be successful in life," Bounds said.

Pack of Hope began delivering meals to 9 out of the 18 school districts in McLennan County just last September. They're now providing for about  400 children. So far the response has been positive, the only problem...

"Just wish we could feed more," Bounds said.

The program costs about $40,000 a year to feed the current 400 children, so the $10,000 grant is just a generous stepping stone.

The main way you can help Pack of Hope is to make either a monetary or food donation to one of their food drives. Visit www.PackOfHope.org for more information.

If you'd like to get involved with the McLennan County Hunger Coalition, visit www.McLennanHunger.org.  

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