Food insecurity affects over 1 in 5 children in the United States alone – that’s over 13 million children unsure where their next meal is coming from.
For a child, a missed meal is more than a temporary inconvenience. Inadequate nutrition has a prolonged effect on children’s physical and mental wellbeing. Hungry children experience reduced capacity for focus and learning, anxiety, and reduced self-confidence.
The longer a child is food insecure, the higher the risk of lasting cognitive delays. When our bodies are given an inadequate supply of nutrients, they are forced to prioritize how those nutrients are used. In a growing child, nutrients are used for maintaining essential organs, such as the heart and lungs. Next, energy goes towards growing, and finally, any leftover resources go towards cognitive and social development. Even if a child looks physically ok, they may be suffering from malnourishment-related intellectual, emotional, or social issues.
School nutrition programs provide breakfasts and lunches, which in some cases are the only meals these children receive. When school isn’t in session weekends or summer holidays, nearly 5 out of 6 children receiving nutrition assistance lose access to those meals.
kidsPACK helps by sending kids home with backpacks filled with 2 breakfasts, 2 lunches, and 2 dinners – enough food to last through the weekend. Every Friday, over 1600 kids in more than 72 schools in Lakeland receive a kidsPACK (as of the date of this article). A program of this size makes a huge impact, but it takes a small army to run.
That’s where you come in.
We firmly believe that anyone can make a difference in their community – and that includes your company.
No business is too big or too small to help those in need. If you’re willing to lend a hand, we would love to have you here at kidsPACK.
We are always looking for monetary donations, but that’s just the tip of the iceberg. There are many other ways you can help, and we much appreciate all of them.
Want to lend a hand, but still not sure how you can? We have a few ideas.
1. Schedule a corporate volunteer shift. Nothing brings people together quite like helping others. Gather up your employees or coworkers and spend an afternoon packing food for backpacks with us.
2. Hold an office food drive. Everything we pack in kidsPACK’s is shelf-stable, making it easy to hold a company drive for kidsPACK foods. Simply set up a donation box in a common area, or really get into the spirit by turning the food drive into an office-wide competition. Encourage participation by offering a small prize to whoever brings in the most food items.
3. Host a community event. Work with kidsPACK to coordinate a community event and allow kidsPACKto be the beneficiary, such as a 5k race, concert, or festival. Collect food or monetary donations from attendees. You’ll help spread the word about both kidsPACK and your company.
4. Host a profit share. If your business sells to or hosts events for the public, consider donating a percentage of profits to kidsPACK for a day. kidsPACK will promote your event on our website and social media to increase attendance.
5. Set up a candy sales box in your office. Even a small gesture is worthwhile, like setting up a candy sales box in your office and donating the profits.
6. Donate your expertise. Like any other organization, kidsPACK is always busy with administrative tasks from answering phones and emails to filing and paperwork. If you’ve got the time to help us with these, or have other specialized skills which would help kidsPACK’s operations, we could sure use a had.
While we love corporate sponsorships, we understand it may not be feasible for your company to write a check at this time. With so many ways of getting involved available, we hope you will support food insecure Lakeland kids however you choose.
Think of a way to get involved not on this list? Let us know – we’re always open to ideas!
If you’re interested in becoming a community partner, call Patty Strickland at (863) 272-7927 or fill out the form below and someone will get in contact with you.
• No Kid Hungry (2018). Kids in America are Hungry. Retrieved from https://www.nokidhungry.org/who-we-are/hunger-facts
• Our Community Food Bank (2015). The Link Between Learning and Child Hunger in America. Retrieved from https://www.ourcommunityfoodbank.org/food-insecurities/the-link-between-learning-and-child-hunger-in-america/