Friday is always an extra special day at Roselawn Elementary for a select group of students.
Darcus Anderson, Power Pack coordinator at Roselawn, is greeted in the halls with big grins, along with, “Is it Friday? Is it Friday?”
These select children know that before they leave school for the weekend, they’ll each be sent home with a Power Pack – easy-to-prepare, nutritional food items to bridge the hungry gap between Friday and Monday, when they return to school.
This will be the third year that Roselawn has participated in the program, according to Darcus, and she has the advantage of witnessing how the participating students and families have been affected.
“Power Pack has had such a positive influence on this student population, in many ways,” she says. “If the program had to end for some reason, the impact would be significant.”
Roselawn is somewhat unusual, in that it has a high population of disabled students, many of whom receive Power Packs.
“One particularly wonderful aspect of the program we’ve witnessed,” says Darcus, “is the improved social skills of the Power Pack kids, especially the special-needs population.”
“As we line them up late in the day on Friday to receive their Power Packs to take home, the children have begun to actively socialize and encourage one another, as they’re all in the same situation. The handicapped children especially look forward to Fridays, and have begun talking to the other students, many of them for the first time.”
Freestore Foodbank relies solely on donors and volunteers to be able to purchase, assemble and distribute Power Packs. Federal, state and local governments do not currently fund any weekend food projects.
“More than anything, I wish we could reach out to more children,” says Darcus.
The Freestore Foodbank is committed to helping children, a segment of the population particularly vulnerable to the effects of hunger. Power Pack directly addresses this issue, by ensuring that the most critical students don’t go hungry over the weekend. Our intent is to increase our reach, with a goal of providing 130,000 Power Packs to over 4,000 children for the 2012-2013 school year.