New Kids Packs program provides food for QPS K-5 students
QUINCY, IL —
More than 1,000 kindergarten through fifth grade students in the Quincy Public School District are benefiting from what's called, "Kids Packs."
Donors and volunteers from across the community gather weekly to make sure children don't go hungry on the weekends.
Kids Packs is in its first year.
The program brings local people together from across the community through donations, time or volunteerism, to make sure students receive adequate nutrition on the weekends.
"Every time we make one of these bags, that is another child that doesn't have to starve tonight,” Amandre Wolf, 11, said.
A little more than 1,000 Quincy Public School students benefit from Kids Packs every week.
"Maybe a kid whose mom can't go to work and can't get food," Keaton Bergman, 10, said. "We help out. We help out."
Each week, organizations gather to pack food into bags to nearly one third of the Quincy Public School District's youngest students.
"Children don't choose the life that they are given,” Kids Packs Coordinator Jessica Dedert said. “Sometimes it is a harder life than others have."
Dedert organizes the Kids Packs program, which is overseen by United Way.
"Over the last eight to 10 years, different programs have evolved though the schools," she said. "Certain schools had their own little programs. Some schools did not have a program at all. So with the new buildings of the K through five communities it was talked over with those who have done it in the past and decided to go over a district wide one center program."
Here's how it works.
"So, we have an assembly line," Wolf explained. "We go from item to item to item, back to back to back."
Students must qualify for the free lunch program.
"Two breakfast items, two lunch items, and two snack items every week," Dedert said.
Different community organizations volunteer each week to pack the bags on Thursday afternoon.
Students receive the food before they head home for the weekend.
"We are providing food for them, for every Friday when they get their food bag so they can go home and have food in their stomach,” Wolf said.
"We saw how many people it helped out and we thought we could keep on doing it because it helps more and more people,” Bergman said.
The group would like to expand its program into the summer months.
Right now, Kids Packs cost around $80 dollars per student.
If you would like to help feed a student, the group is accepting monetary donations and volunteer help.