20 percent of children in Spokane County face food insecurity every day.
Over 9,400 children have skipped meals due to lack of household funds. These children hardly ever know when their next meal will be.
Poor nutrition can negatively affect the growth, development, health, and academic success of youth. Hungry students lack concentration and struggle in school, both academically and behaviorally.
57 percent of students in Spokane Public schools and almost half throughout Spokane County are eligible for free and reduced-price breakfast and lunch. Although these children may have access to food during school hours, there is no guarantee they will eat on weeknights and weekends. This is where Second Harvest Bite2Go comes in.
Second Harvest Food Bank partners with Spokane Public Schools and community partners on Bite2Go, a program that provides weekend food supplies to children in need during the school year.
The program started in 2008 with packing meals for elementary students. In 2016, volunteers began making larger portioned meals for middle and high school students through the Bite 2 Go XL program, according to the Spokesman Review.
Every Thursday, the volunteers pack enough grocery bags with non-perishable items to feed 800 to 1,000 students for two days, reported the Spokesman Review. Most of the goods are donated from local grocery stores and community partners.
“Unfortunately the need is great. Fortunately, we’re able to meet that,” said Julie Humphries, Second Harvest’s community manager.
The Bite2Go kits include a good mix of healthy, kid-friendly, easy-to-open, single-serving, nonperishable food items to cover meals and three snacks over the weekend. The shelf-stable milk, juice, cereal, entrees and snacks are safe for children to handle on their own because they don’t require any cooking or other preparation.
A nutritious diet can reduce major risk factors for chronic diseases such as obesity, high blood pressure, diabetes and high blood cholesterol. In order to be able to choose a nutritious diet, an affordable supply of health-promoting foods must be available.
Each week, staff members at participating schools put the packages of food discreetly in the backpacks of students in need
“It’s good food that will carry them through the weekend,” Humphreys said
Hunger should not be an obstacle for kids to succeed in the classroom.
To find out more about this program, please visit: https://2-harvest.org/bite-2-go/