New effort to feed hungry children in Weston - WAOW - Newsline 9, Wausau News, Weather, Sports

New effort to feed hungry children in Weston

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WESTON (WAOW) -

Volunteers in Weston are launching a new effort to help feed hungry children. Educators said it could make a big difference at home and in the classroom.

The program is part of a national effort called "Blessings in a Backpack". Organizers want to make sure children have plenty to eat during the weekend. They said while their effort is relatively new, they've got big plans.

The storage area at Idea Charter School has canned goods, cereal, even toothbrushes, but organizers said the D.C. Everest Blessings in a Backpack program isn't the traditional food pantry.

"There's 50 kids that will be starting this weekend and every weekend throughout the school year at Weston Elementary, going home with backpacks filled with food," said Stephanie Ferrario, Blessings in a Backpack Marketing Director.

The program collects monetary donations instead of donated goods. Organizers want to guarantee children in need get fresh food.

"Any money that is donated to us goes directly into purchasing those items for the kids," said Ferrario.

There's a focus on healthy options when school isn't in session.

Organizers said inside of the backpacks, there's enough food for two breakfasts, two lunches and two snacks.

"Cups of fruit, granola bars, oatmeal that you can just pour in and add hot water to," said Ferrario.

Coordinators said the D.C. Everest program is growing fast. They have plans to expand, hoping to send a full backpack home with 300 children, every weekend in the near future.

"We're hoping that it translates into better grades at school, higher attendance rates, and other positive influences at the school," said Lynn Burzinski, Weston Elementary First Grade Teacher.

Weston Elementary teachers said the school has a high percentage of students in the free and reduced lunch program.

"I don't think it's as visible in the community and families aren't aware of that need," said Burzinski.

Organizers hope this effort will bring more awareness, more help and fewer hungry children.

Organizers said this Friday will be the first weekend students receive a backpack. They also said helping a child for a year costs about $100.

 

For more information about the program and how you can help:

DCE Blessings in a Backpack on Facebook | DCE Blessings in a Backpack website

 

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