(Check out video of a KWCH news story about the Food 4 Kids program)
A Kid-Friendly School-based Program – Because the most essential school supply is food.
Food 4 Kids was established for students who are food insecure and who are not getting sufficient food outside of school on a regular basis. The Food Bank provides food and supplies to Food 4 Kids schools in Kansas, which are operated in partnership with community schools.
The Food 4 Kids program allows participating schools to receive food and backpacks from the Kansas Food Bank at no cost so that we can provide food to chronically hungry children.
The following information is provided to help define a “chronically hungry” child.
If a child does not get enough food outside of school he/she is considered “food insecure.” The U.S. Department of Agriculture defines food insecurity as households that are uncertain of having, or unable to acquire, enough food to meet basic needs of all their members because of insufficient money or other resources. When the guardian of a child has to choose between food and other necessities, e.g., having electricity shut off because they don’t have enough money, it is an indicator of food insecurity.
A child will not necessarily tell you that he doesn’t have enough food at home, but observation of patterns and/or behavior will set them apart. For example: A chronically hungry child will be anxious for a meal to be served; they may rush the cafeteria line or show up early for breakfast; they’ll eat any food placed before them; they may linger around for seconds or even ask for more.
Food insecurity is the main reason for the Food 4 Kids program. Any child who exhibits these behaviors is considered a candidate for receiving a backpack.
Certain physical features are indicators of vitamin and/or food deficiencies: puffy and swollen skin can be due to a protein deficiency; a very thin child whose bones are starting to protrude may have a lack of protein and calories; redness around the lips and/or cracked lips; dry and itchy eyes can be a sign of a vitamin A deficiency. The weight of a child isn’t always a sure indication of food insecurity. Some obesity is caused from poor nutrition in the diet of the child.
The school performance of a child can indicate there are problems at home with food insufficiency. Examples of this are: Excessive absences due to sickness or unexcused; Hyperactive, aggressive, irritable, anxious, withdrawn, distressed, passive/aggressive; Repetition of a grade; Difficulty in forming friendships; Sickness–sore throat, common cold, stomach ache, ear infection, fatigue; Short attention span, inability to concentrate. Difficulty with several of these symptoms can seriously impact a child’s ability to learn and master educational material– handicapping them down the road.
HOME ENVIRONMENT PROBLEMS:
A child’s parent(s) may have lost their job and there isn’t enough money to stock the refrigerator. A single-parent family where the parent works on the weekends and is not around to fix meals. Food 4 Kids is designed for children who are not able to get sufficient food at home due to neglect or other circumstances that prevent them from having regular access to food.
The Kansas Food Bank provides pre-assembled bags of food to be distributed to children in backpacks on Friday of each week. Two different sets of bags (each containing different food) are provided to schools by the Food Bank. The food bags are rotated by the schools so that children receive a different bag each week.
FOOD 4 KIDS FOODBAGS CONTAIN:
Different foods designed to provide nutrition and calories for chronically hungry school children on weekends.
Kid friendly foods that require no preparation. Kids can just “open and eat”.
— Peanut Butter (12-ounce jar) and a sleeve of crackers
— Beans and franks (pop-top can)
— Beef Jerky (1 ounce)
— Cereal (1-ounce bowl or box)
— Fruit cups (peaches, applesauce, etc)
— Raisins (snack-size boxes)
— Pudding cups
— Juice boxes (apple, orange, or other juice)
— Milk (aseptic pack boxes that do not require refrigeration)
— Cereal bars or granola bars