Our #RANoHungryChild campaign has lead us through many different avenues to make strides towards eradicating childhood hunger. We thank you for your support, and we genuinely hope these stories of where we are making an impact have inspired you to look into your own communities for ways you can help. Not knowing where your next meal is coming from is a reality many children face every day, but with the help of organizations like the Family Enrichment Network, hopefully, those days are few and far between.
Mind the Gap!
In Broome County, New York, the Family Enrichment Network (FEN) aims to provide services to the optimal development of families and children. To that end, they are always on the lookout for ways to make sure no child will go hungry. Many of the free meal locations in Broome County, NY stop offering their free meals during the week before school because it is teacher training week. This means that the local schools need the space for teachers and therefore can not serve meals in that space.
Because all of the school campus locations offering free meals end a week before school begins, state and local funding for free meal programs also ends at this point. This puts children in the difficult position of no longer having a reliable meal source for the entire week leading up to the beginning of school, at a time when their families are already under financial strain from back to school supply list shopping.
Family Enrichment Network continues to offer free bagged lunches during this week before school starts, but the quality and quantity of these lunches can suffer because of the lack of funding.
Stepping in to Lend a Hand
Staff Writer Dreana Ferguson saw an opportunity to help with this gap week. Using Random Acts funds, she was able to go grocery shopping for the Family Enrichment Network, stocking up on many needed items to make sure these children received nutritious meals. She also purchased reusable bags, so that the students could take home food from the FEN “Farmers Market” that takes place during the weekends. Lastly, the FEN Food Service Coordinator Wendy Conrad added special, kid friendly kindness prompts to keep the kind acts going. In all, she was able to help one hundred children eat for the week, which is no small feat!