A church in Portland, Oregon, realized that many of its local children lived in poverty and felt the subsequent pangs of hunger. Upon seeing this need, the Freemont United Methodist Church created the Weekend Snackpac Project, a program designed to send needy kids home each Friday with a lunch sack full of nutritious food.
In 2011, after visiting visiting her daughter who worships in that church, Jan Unzicker of Roanoke brought the Snackpac idea to central Illinois where her church, Metamora Mennonite, now distributes lunch sacks to free- and reduced-lunch participants at Lowpoint-Washburn Elementary.
Jan’s mission to spread this much-needed ministry has led to many churches in the Greater Peoria area to participate including First Mennonite Church in Morton.
Each week, nearly 500 students from nearly 25 schools are provided with Weekend Snackpacs.
Here at First Mennonite, we provide a weekend lunch for students who attend two of the local elementary schools.
You know about school meal programs
but what happens on the weekend?
To help provide students with the nutritional building blocks they need to thrive in the classroom, qualifying students in schools receive free or reduced-cost school lunches. However, those same students are at risk of not getting enough to eat on weekends. That’s the purpose of the Weekend Snackpac Project. The Weedend Snackpac Project helps provide food for qualifying students on the weekends by providing a free sack lunch.
Here's how works?
Parent(s)/Guardian(s) of students that qualify for free and reduced lunches are sent information on the WSP. If they wish to participate, they simply let the school known.
People from area churches/organizations create a school support team. That team gathers regularly to prepare weekend snackpacs for students. Contents vary from school to school but included in each one are food items that balance nutrition with accessibility (i.e. a student can prepare the food him or herself).
Each Friday morning, someone from the school support team delivers the snackpacs to the school.
Teachers will put the snackpacs into the backpacks of the students in their classroom while their class is at gym or recess.
Students take the snackpacs home and enjoy them over the weekend.