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Blog Post: Power Packs Give Kids Hope

This program to provide weekend food to children of needy families is off to a good start.

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.

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

Nikki Clifford February 04, 2012 at 09:33 PM
Hello Laura: At the moment Food for Others can not provide anything perishable. This is due to storage constraints both at our warehouse and the schools we serve. Our volunteers tend to deliver a minimum of 2 weeks worth of packs at a time, if not an entire months worth. Depending on the school, that can be as many as 400 packs per month. I'd love to hear any ideas you have, feel free to email me at nclifford@foodforothers.org or call 703-207-9173.
Amelie Krikorian February 04, 2012 at 10:25 PM
Yes, thanks -- at my school there had been a big uproar during the book fair because a few students were given free books, and one of the people involved let slip that it was because the kids were on free/reduced price lunches... so i know it can be a touchy issue.
anahita shafa February 05, 2012 at 01:15 PM
Hi Nikki, I would like to find out how I can help. I am a full time working mom of 2 little boys and I am also a coupon shopper. If I know what you need most or what you would like to add to the kids food packs, I can watch out for and buy with sales at the local stores. Pls let me know. My email is Anahita72@gmail.com. thanks
Peter L. Spain February 05, 2012 at 04:27 PM
Dear Anahita, Suggested foods: For breakfast: • Oatmeal packets • Cereal - individual serving size boxes For lunch and/or dinner: • Chili cups • Mac & Cheese cups • Tuna salad kits • Pasta/meat cups (Beefaroni has ravioli, spaghetti & meatballs, etc. in single serving sizes) For snacks: • Fruit cups • Cheese & crackers • Pretzel packets For drinks: • 100% Fruit juice boxes • Capri Sun juices packets • Shelf stable milk (Horizon has individual serving sizes in chocolate, strawberry and vanilla along with regular milk) Here is a picture of a sample P3 pack. DO NOT USE food list: • Please try to avoid items with peanuts or peanut butter • Candy – try to stick with items that have some nutritional value • No perishable foods! • Pop Tarts – they can get too crumbly in the pack for the kids to eat • Potted Meat or Vienna Sausages – the kids don’t eat them • Family sized cans or boxes – too large for a child to eat alone and/or too heavy for them to carry home • No glass containers, please You can also see that Amazon.com now offers free shipping of donated food directly to Food for Others if you are a Member of Amazon’s Prime program. Just order online and click. Thanks for your interest. Best regards, Peter Spain
Catherine February 05, 2012 at 07:22 PM
What a wonderful program and it is heartwarming to hear about what students are doing to help their classmates too! Thank you to all who are filling this critical need for hungry children in our area!

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