While working on a freelance writing project this week, I learned something that is kind of shocking to me. There are children at every school in Amarillo going hungry on the weekends. Every school. Even in the "upscale" neighborhoods. Even in your neighborhood. Sometimes, I am guilty of living in my happy little bubble of oblivion. This is one of those times. I literally had no idea. Certainly, I assumed this must be true at some of our schools. But ALL of them? My mind has been blown and my bubble burst. 

The project I'm working on is a look at Snack Pak 4 Kids, a non-profit organization that provides weekend meals for food insecure children. One guy started the program in his kitchen a few years ago, packing meals for ten kids at one school. Today, they're serving 3,800 children in the Texas Panhandle.

The problem Snack Pak 4 Kids addresses is many children are fed at school on weekdays with the state's free and reduced lunch program, but when it comes to weekends, there's no food available at home. Imagine going through an entire weekend without food and then being expected to be alert and attentive at school on Monday morning. I don't know about you, but my attention span fades pretty fast if I go longer than 6 or 8 hours without eating. I can't imagine toughing it out for 66 hours.

But with an army of volunteers and arsenal of donations, Snack Pak 4 Kids is making sure these kids have food to take home each weekend. It's amazing the difference a $3.50 bag of food can make. Teachers of these students say the children behave better and their grades improve when they're being fed every day.

As a mom of elementary age children, it seems so heartbreaking to know there are classmates of my children who don't know when their next meal will come. It's no wonder there are now literally hundreds and hundreds of volunteers across this city--and the Panhandle--stepping up to help feed all children. And while the program has grown tremendously, there are sitll children in our city--and beyond--who are hungry.

You can help. Next Tuesday (November 5) volunteers will help pack bags for backpacks at 6 p.m. at the Snack Pak 4 Kids warehouse at 701 E. 5th (SE 5th & Johnson). You should join us! If you can't make it, visit the Snack Pak 4 Kids website at www.snackpak4kids.org to learn how you can help make sure none of our children are hungry.

facebook/Snack Pak 4 Kids