Donation a Drop in the Bucket

The Houston Food Bank helps feed millions of children whose families depend on government assistance for basic nourishment during the school year, but aren't so lucky during the summer. Pat Hernandez has more.

During the school year over 19-million children receive free and reduced price meals at school, but may go to bed hungry during the summer.

LINC Houston is a network of local churches that provides a summer program for kids whose parents struggle to make ends meet.

It was here that attorney Bert Tabor, the president of the Mary Barden Keegan Food Fund, presented the Houston Food Bank with a check for 285-thousand dollars. Most of that money will go to buy food for the Backpack Buddy program for 200-new schools next year.

"Kids need this energy and food provides that, and they need it to learn. They need it to prosper and frankly, it's  just a drop in the bucket given the enormous problem, but we're hoping that maybe, it will encourage others in the community to pitch in and help out."

Anne Swenson-Sanchez, Food Bank nutritionist, helped prepare the food that goes into the backpack for the kids.

"A sack of food that goes home for the weekend, to get these children who have been identified by the schools as not having any food in their home, til Monday. So it'll be two breakfasts, two lunches, two snacks and two dinners, and for that child and they can share it with any siblings that are in the household also."

The program will feed over 43-hundred children each week. Brian Greene, president of the Houston Food Bank, says summer is hunger season for kids who normally get fed during the school year.

"Children overwhelmingly make up the poverty population, the food insecure population, and the population of households that experience hunger. There are extra expenses in the household, that tend to have younger parents who are early in their income streams. You add it all up, these are households that can't, in many cases can't meet all the needs. And so unfortunately, these are children at risk of hunger."

Money from the Mary Barden Keegan Food Fund will help with the program expansion to feed almost 5-thousand new kids during the upcoming school year. Greene says it will help the Food Bank almost double the number of kids being fed. Gwen Franke, community program director at LINC Houston, says meals we take for granted are a treasure for these kids.

"They get one meal a day that has all the nutrients in it that they need and you know..."

"(I want more)."

"They just, you can tell they love it. I just heard I want more." (laughter fade)

It's estimated that Harris County families struggling to keep food on the table, need about 277-million dollars a year to ensure that every person has three meals a day.     

Bio photo of Pat Hernandez

Pat Hernandez

Reporter

Pat Hernandez is a general assignments reporter who joined the KUHF news staff in February of 2008...