As difficult as it may be to hear, hundreds of children throughout the Polk County area are not receiving enough food to maintain a healthy body and mind. This is primarily due to a lack of food in the home. As such, these children may experience chronic sickness and have behavioral problems (irritable, withdrawn, anxious, etc.). They may appear extremely thin, have puffy or swollen skin and have a short attention span or inability to concentrate.
Fortunately, Thermal Belt Outreach Ministry (Outreach) is making a difference for children in need through the Feed-A-Kid Program. The Feed-A-Kid Program began in 2008 as a way to provide nutritious food to children that are at-risk of hunger due to a lack of food in the home. Thanks to donors and supporters of Outreach, thousands of backpacks loaded with food items are distributed to children throughout the year.
What are the Signs of a Nutritionally at-risk Child? - Arriving to school on Monday morning with extreme hunger - Asking when the next meal/snack will be served - Regularly asking their teacher/neighbor/friend for food - Saving/hoarding/stealing food to take home for themselves and siblings - Lingering around for or asking for seconds at school - Comments about not having enough food in the home - Asking classmates for food that they do not want
How Does the Program Work? Outreach purchases food and receives food donations from donors, volunteers and friends throughout the year. These food items are used by the Food Pantry in support of those in need including the Feed-A-Kid Program. Volunteers fill food bags on a weekly basis that are then distributed to local schools in the area that have identified a nutritionally at-risk child. The bags are placed in the child's locker during class hours in order to help protect the child's identity.
How Can I Help? First, become an advocate for Outreach and spread the message of the need to serve this growing population. Next, become an Outreach Volunteer and join with us in serving families crisis through your talents and abilities. Lastly, simply give a financial contribution to the Outreach and support the ongoing work of Outreach. Your gift will enable us to continue to serve others in need.