Several years ago my dear friend, Pat Jones stunned me with stories of Gig Harbor children that go hungry. Over time I have become more informed about the need and the organizations responding to that need.
Food Backpacks 4 Kids is one of those organizations that has been incredibly successful for 12 years. Prior to the Pandemic, the program model looked like this: Peninsula school children who are “in need” were identified. Backpacks or school pantries were loaded each week with healthy packaged food and were made available for those children to take home. In addition they had a summer lunch program that previously functioned 1 or 2 times a week in community centers.
What happened to kids and families during the Pandemic School Closure?
As healthcare professionals were telling us, children were the hidden victims of the pandemic, FB 4 Kids sprang into action. Already knowing many of these at-risk children and the families in our community, they became the first organization in our community to start delivering food to the doorsteps of families in crisis. In addition they developed drive-by food pickup locations. These changes turned out to be a positive move, why?…
- They started building in-person relationship with the kids and families to understand needs beyond food.
- It allowed the distribution of fresh product, dairy and meats that could not happen in the schools.
- Now, year-round needs can be met; it is not tied to the schools and the school schedules.
- Instead of just a backpack of food, a family can pickup a weeks worth of food equivalent to a large shopping cart.
The model has changed again to meet an even greater need. Backpacks filled with food are now available for any hungry kids that are now back in school or for families at these 2 pick-up locations:
- Gig Harbor- at 5503 Wollochet Dr (PenMet/Old Peninsula Gardens) on Fridays 3-5 pm
- Key Peninsula- in Key Center at the FB 4 Kids Warehouse- on hill behind Food Market 9127 154th Ave Ct. (Wed & Fri 3-5 pm)
How this program differs from a Food Bank? FB 4 Kids has a mission “to meet the nutritional needs of hungry children in our local schools.” To uphold this mission the recipient family needs to have a child living within the Peninsula School District boundaries. Federal poverty levels will apply post-Covid.
How Can You Help?
- If you are a member of any church group, club, community, school-group or business you can make “food-raising” a fun event or contest. Even one person can make a difference- read about the lemonade stand or read about Starbucks Customers giveback.
- Monetary donations are SO much appreciated in order to purchase additional food beyond what is donated. Donate at this link.
- Volunteers are always needed- just call 253 857-7401 or email firstname.lastname@example.org and let Michelle or Richard know how and when you can assist.
- Schedule a Food Drive “drop off” using the contact above- typically scheduled for Wed or Fri. mornings to our Key Peninsula warehouse.
But another way you can help is to attend the upcoming Empty Bowls Event held by the Altrusa Club of Gig Harbor.
Scheduled late in May (Covid restrictions permitting), the Empty Bowls event focuses on feeding the hungry children in our own community. Altrusa donates a major portion of the proceeds to FB 4 Kids. “The partnership with Altrusa Gig Harbor is fundamental to our success” quoted FB 4 Kids director Richard Miller. Watch for the next Betty’s Blog on Event Resources Gig Harbor for more information about the upcoming Empty Bowls event.