EVANSVILLE, Ind (WEHT) One in five children in the Tri-State face hunger. That’s the number from the Tri-State Food Bank.
To make sure all children are well fed before heading to class, the food bank partners with businesses and relies on donations and grants to pay for the backpack program. But of course thousands of bags would not be full of food without volunteers.
“It’s heart breaking. We do what we can to help who we can.”
Inside the plastic bags is enough food for 6 meals and 2 snacks to feed students for an entire weekend.
“Meats, different juices, I think fruit. Milk, cereal, oatmeal.”
Each week the Tri-State Food Bank fills close to 1,200 bags to be delivered to 93 schools in Indiana, Kentucky and Illinois.
“When students are home on the weekends, you just never know what their situation is at home so it’s very important to take these home and have that nutrition over the weekend,” says Tina Vest, a volunteer with the food bank.
The food bank launched the program in 2005 for K-12 students who qualify for the national school free lunch program.
“One out of five kids do not have meals when they’re not in school and we cover over 250 agencies in 33 counties. Lots of kids. And they all need meals. And maybe some of my students were members of that program when they were in high school,” said Sean Presley, Tri-State Food Bank volunteer lead.
One of the main reasons the program stays successful is because of volunteers like Tina and her EVSC students who stop by once a week. “It makes us feel and it makes them feel good to know that they are helping out their fellow students.”
As hunger action month reaches its halfway point, Tina issues a challenge to the community.
“If you can forego and not do one meal out a week and give that money to the Tri-State Food Bank and if you’re not able to give money, come out and spend a couple of hours and help them prepare food for students.”