What is Power Pack?
Cincinnati’s FreestoreFoodbank created the Power Pack Program to feed hungry children by providing them with nutritious and easy-to-prepare food to take home on weekends and school vacations. For $140.00, a child can recieve a Power Pack bag for an entire school year. $3.50 a bag x 40 weeks of school...help us feed hungry children in our community.
Is this a significant problem?
In Cincinnati, Covington, and Newport Public Schools, there are schools with at least 85% of students participating in the national free or reduced-cost breakfast and school lunch program, according to Ohio and Kentucky Department of Education data. We estimate that at least 10% of these students face such food insecurity that they may have little or no food at home over the weekend and would be eligible for Power Pack. This means we could provide almost 3,000 Power Packs per week in these schools alone.
Isn’t there a government program to feed kids on weekends?
No. Unlike the federally funded in-school feeding programs, nothing exists to supply good nutrition and prepare kids to be ready to learn when they return to school on Monday. Federal, state and local governments have not funded projects such as this.
What goes into the Power Pack?
Nine to 12 kid-friendly, nutritious, and shelf-stable items. The items are varied from week to week to ensure variety and nutritional value.
Where are we now?
As of April 2009, Power Packs are being distributed weekly to approximately 1490 children in 34 locations in Kenton and Campbell County, KY and Hamilton and Pike Counties, OH.
Where are we going?
We want to start by serving the area immediately surrounding our Cincinnati base, concentrating on schools in Cincinnati, Covington and Newport, with at least of 85% of students or higher in the National School Lunch Program. Then, we will move outward through our 20-county service area in Southwestern Ohio, Northern Kentucky and Southeastern Indiana.
How will we get there?
We will work directly with the school districts, particularly with Family Resource Centers or Community Learning Centers within a school district. This partnership is both efficient and effective as these centers already work closely with our target population, having established rapport and access to children and their families. The program design is simple and effective. The FreestoreFoodbank selects partners to provide the distribution location and to aid in the identification of chronically hungry children in their schools. The foodbank supplies participating organizations with Power Pack take-home bags and with backpacks if necessary.
Since the site coordinators observe and interact with the children on a regular basis, they may be familiar with the child’s home life and any obstacles that child may be facing. There are no eligibility requirements and no out of pocket costs to the organizations or the children. By concentrating efforts at the school level, where children are already gathered, and using the tight-knit relationship between staff and students, we can identify those chronically hungry children and give them the help they need.
Why is this a problem in my neighborhood?
Children are especially vulnerable to issues of hunger and poverty. According to America’s Second Harvest 2005 Report on Emergency Food Distribution in the United States, 13 million children live in poverty in the United States. Hunger has long lasting, devastating effects on the health and development of children. Research indicates that even mild under-nutrition experienced by young children during critical periods of growth may lead to reductions in physical growth and affect brain development. It’s been said, “A hungry child can’t learn and an uneducated adult can’t earn.
It becomes glaringly evident why programs like the Power Pack Program is essential in combating childhood hunger.
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