The North Texas Food Bank
NTFB’s summer feeding program not only provides breakfast to children enrolled in daycare, we provide backpacks of kid-friendly food for the weekend, and lots of fresh fruits and vegetables to keep them healthy while on vacation. Here is an example of how your support helps kids in our community.
A site coordinator from one of our sites reported that prior to registering a set of second grade twins on the backpack program, Casey and Jamie* came in every morning complaining about being hungry, and they cried easily with any minor issues or problems. Their dad is not in the picture anymore, and mom has a really hard time financially. As they received their first backpacks full of food, Casey and Jamie both gave me a huge hug and thanked me. They smile every time they receive a backpack, and it has made a huge difference in their ability to cope with life’s challenges.
Sam, a single mom of four, is categorized as the working poor of Collin County. She earns more than minimum wage, but doesn’t earn enough to make ends meet at the end of the month. This past summer, ACO partnered with Sam and her family to close the gap and fill the need in her home through ACO KIDS Summer Food Program. ACO’s program provides every child with a large bag of kid-friendly and easy-fix foods every two weeks. These bags of groceries helped Sam eliminate the rising cost of groceries during the summer months and ensured her children had three meals a day. The money Sam saved on grocery purchases allowed her to manage other financial responsibilities in her home. Sam was overwhelmed with excitement knowing each of her children was given a personal bag of breakfast and lunch foods “just for them”. ACO Summer Food Program not only feeds kids, but makes it personal!
Amanda is seven years old and very mature for her age. She has had to grow up in a hurry, because unfortunately she has responsibility for her younger sister when their parents aren’t home. During the school year, they are only alone for a few hours in the house before her Mom comes home from work. Their Dad works two jobs to try and make ends meet, so he’s home very little. During the school year, Amanda and her sister are on the Free and Reduced Breakfast and Lunch Program which ensures they have healthy meals twice a day. However, with summertime here, Amanda is responsible for herself and her sister for 8 hours each weekday. Her parents are barely able to afford the groceries for a family of four, so they plan one meal in the evening thanks to their monthly access to the ACO Food Pantry. And thanks to the ACO KIDS Summer Food Program, Amanda and her sister will have nutritious breakfast, lunch and snack foods to eat while they are home alone during the summer. Mom said last summer’s food program was a real blessing for their family. Two Saturdays a month from June through August, Amanda’s parents will come to the pantry this summer and bring the girls. They are both again excited to get their very own bags, which not only have foods they look forward to, but sometimes other surprises like books, small toys, a new toothbrush and such. Two Saturdays a month, Amanda and her sister will leave the pantry with big smiles knowing that they won’t go hungry this summer.
Ruth, a senior living on a fixed income, currently has full custody of her 8-year-old grandson, Devin. Ruth loves taking care of Devin, but the added expenses of taking care of a child made it difficult to make ends meet. Ruth had to make tough choices between paying all the bills or keeping food on the table as she could no longer do both.
During the school year, Devin is a part of the 11% of Frisco ISD students who receives free and reduced lunches at school. Before Ruth started receiving services from Frisco Family Services, the summer months put a real financial strain on her food budget, having to buy more groceries to provide Devin with lunch at home every day. Last year,Ruth and Devin participated in Frisco Family Services’ Summer Lunch Program, where more than 10,000 lunches and snack packs were distributed. Not only did the Summer Lunch Program provide them with enough food to keep them healthy, but she was able to take Devin out to play with other kids his own age, make new friends and enjoy fun-filled activities.
“I was worried when I got custody of my grandson that I would not be able to give him everything that he needs,” said Ruth. “The Summer Lunch Program not only provided healthy food for Devin, but he also got to partake in fun activities and make new friends. Going to the Summer Lunch Program was something we both looked forward to going to every week!”
Blanca Fernandez and her three children are very involved in many of the free programs at Brother Bill’s Helping Hand (BBHH). During the summer, her two daughters, Yazmin (10) and Sophia (8), love to participate in the annual 5-day Ballet Camp. Blanca recently shared with BBHH staff about how much her girls had always wanted to take ballet lessons, but she could never find a ballet school she could afford. In addition to ballet lessons at BBHH, her daughters received the blessing of free lunches each day of camp. Blanca commented that free lunches are a huge help for her during the summer. She struggled to find a free summer lunch program before BBHH, and now she and her children look forward to summers at BBHH where she knows they will receive the critical support and services her family needs.