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Snack program offers weekend meals

by Eva James Yeo

snack programMore than a year ago, the “Weekend Snack Pack” program began making a difference in the lives of schoolchildren in Berrysburg, Pa., thanks to Barbara Bullock.

The idea came to Barbara, a member of St. John Lutheran Church and a board member for the Lower Susquehanna Synodical Women’s Organization, when she volunteered to help pack more than 300 food packages for individuals and families in her community.

After noticing the needs of children at the local school, she decided to start the Weekend Snack Pack program.

Barbara placed information about the program in the bulletin of her church, known to many as The Church on the Hill. Seven people attended the first meeting to learn how they could become involved. After two months, the program committee was formed and the logistics confirmed with the local elementary school and the Pennsylvania food bank.

The school provides the names of children who are eligible for reduced or free lunches. Their parents are asked for permission to allow their children to participate. In addition to the food bank, other support comes from food drives as well as donations from members of St. John and surrounding churches. Individuals can sponsor a student from January through June for $80.

About 15 to 20 volunteers gather at the school every week to pack and distribute 72 to 105 snack packs to students from kindergarten through fifth grade.

At the end of each school week, students receive two breakfasts, lunches and suppers, plus two snacks — a weekend’s worth of nutritious food. The weekend snack program is not offered during the summer because school is out. The next step, Barbara said, is to provide nourishing weekend snack packs for middle school students and work toward a solution to serve students during summer vacation.

“It’s been a rewarding program,” Barbara said.

Eva James Yeo is director for membership for Women of the ELCA. Do you have an active ministry you would like to share? Share your ideas by emailing eva.yeo@elca.org.


Photo: Creative Commons, Amancay Maahs