Have I ever told you about our Backpack and School Supplies Drive we used to have at church? For three years running, we collected backpacks, school supplies, and offered free haircuts to needy kids in our area. After our church lost its permanent space, our backpack mission turned into a food mission. We had heard from a local school counselor that there were many children coming to school hungry in the morning. Or, going home to parents who either weren’t around to make sure their children had healthy snacks and meals after school, or didn’t have the means to provide these healthy kids snacks for their sweet kids.
So, we decided to start a Blessings in a Backpack ministry at one of our local public schools. The school where my children attend is sort of a hodge podge school. It’s smack in the middle of a nice neighborhood, but when they rearranged the district busing and closed some schools, our student body increased. As part of that increase, our children are attending a school that has the highest ratio of students on free/reduced lunch programs. Hello! We have a need literally across the street from our house!
In talking with the school counselor, and our church members, 17 children received a backpack of easy to prepare, healthy, shelf stable food to take home every Friday afternoon. So, each week I and other church members would shop for shelf stable healthy foods, like Dole Fruit Bowls and Dole Squish’ems. I loved delivering these goodies every week, and stocking the shelves to stuff backpacks.
Fast forward 3 years. There is still a huge need for children to have healthy food and food they can prepare themselves here in our community. Every Sunday, we collect food at our children’s message time, so when I heard about the Dole Champions for Kids campaign, I wanted to be a part of it. Seeing these sweet kiddos bringing their food offerings to the Lord, and knowing that food was going to help others, I decided to get some Dole Fruit Bowls and Dole Squish’Ems at WalMart to donate. Since the boys and I go to help at the local food pantry the first Thursday of every month, we made sure the Dole Fruit Bowls and Dole Squish’Ems made it into some bags to be sent home with families. For more of our story, check out my Google+ Album.
Champions for Kids makes it easy to mobilize others in your community for service. They have campaigns all over the country, collecting food and other items for the kids. Every kid deserves to feel like a champion, right? I mean, little victories like tying shoes, choosing a healthy snack, or being able to drink milk with breakfast all help jump start the young champions in our communities.
Serving others can be so easy. So can getting healthy, easy to prepare kid friendly foods into the homes of needy children. You’d be surprised, in looking around your community, how many people are in need of the simplest things. I always feel so grateful to know that I can and do buy my children healthy foods at the store. Whether it be fresh fruits, or Dole Fruit Bowls or Squish’Ems for their lunchboxes, I know they are getting nutrition even when I’m not around. Just grabbing few extra Dole Fruit Bowls, Dole Squish’Ems, or other shelf stable foods to donate is so easy!
Check out how the rest of my fellow bloggers participated!