No child in America should go hungry…..but they do.
Many of our students in Boone County West Virginia have nothing to eat during evenings, weekends and school breaks. They are eligible for free breakfast and lunch at school, but often go home to empty refrigerators and cupboards. Anyone that has seen the students arrive on Monday morning, rushing to the cafeteria for breakfast, can tell you that these kids haven’t eaten much of anything since lunch at school on Friday. This may be the result of a gap in social services, addiction in the home, or poor choices by the adults. But it’s the innocent children that suffer the consequences.
There are many examples and stories of kids that need help to have enough food to eat. Two brothers are fortunate enough to live near the local schools and can often be found at any local sporting event. Teachers that understand their situation know that these boys may not have dinner unless someone gets them something at the concession stand. Others live close enough to local churches to get some help there. But most students live in areas where help is nearly impossible to find. Teachers tell stories of small children putting crackers in their pocket or taking ketchup packets home to help feed their little brother or sister. Most of us have never known that type of poverty. We have never wondered how we can make it from noon on Friday to 8 AM Monday without any food. We never have to choose to give our little sister our last cracker on Friday evening knowing there will be no more food until Monday, but in the southern WV Coal Fields it is a constant reality.
Many of the students that are in dire need of food live further out in our most rural areas or live in areas where much of the neighborhood has been devastated by the drug epidemic. They have nowhere to turn for help. That’s where the Snack Pack program comes in. Youth Commission partners with local churches and groups to purchase and pack food into bags the students can take home from school on Fridays and during breaks. These bags provide some basic food and snacks to keep students fed during these difficult times. Food such as crackers, pop tarts, granola bars, ramen noodles and oatmeal helps fill in the gap until the student returns to school for the next meal. It is a lifeline that students are very thankful to have.
Youth Commission wants to partner with local churches and other groups to help ensure children throughout West Virginian have adequate food and that no child goes hungry. This is a solution that is working but we need more resources to expand it to other areas in West Virginian that are in desperate need. Please consider partnering with YCWV in this crucial and worthwhile endeavor to shine the light of Jesus into some of our darkest areas.
YCWV Board Member