Second Harvest Food Bank
When your plate is always full, it’s difficult to imagine that children are going hungry within just a few miles of your dinner table. Unfortunately, it’s a daily fact of life for thousands of kids in our community. That’s why Second Harvest Food Bank, a United Way supported agency, teamed with Central Florida elementary schools to develop an innovative food program that ensures kids receive adequate nourishment seven days a week. Known as the Hi-Five Kids Pack, the program began when Second Harvest learned that kids were showing up for class on Monday mornings with headaches, stomach complaints and attention problems that school nurses attributed to hunger. Many of the children participated in subsidized school meal programs during the week, but were going hungry on weekends. Working with schools, Second Harvest created nutritious, kid-friendly food kits that fit easily into back packs. Teachers were trained to identify at-risk children and discretely distribute the food on Friday afternoons. Almost immediately, the number of children who had hunger-related problems on Mondays dropped dramatically. At Ivey Lane Elementary in Orlando, one of the Hi-Five pilot schools, students found a way to return the generosity when a group attending a summer science camp grew a vegetable garden. At harvest time, they delivered a two-pound box of string beans to Second Harvest. Of the 17 million pounds of food the agency distributed that year, it considered this donation the most important.