Snack Pak 4 Kids Expands - KFDA - NewsChannel 10 / Amarillo News, Weather, Sports

Snack Pak 4 Kids Expands

Many area children are benefiting from a local program which is expanding to provide food to even more kids this school year.

Snack Pak 4 Kids is offering bags of food and milk this year to thousands of area children. They're working to reduce the high demand of kids going hungry during the weekends which is when they can't rely on school for a meal.

Founder Dyron Howell says, "We've had kids that come to school, go to the nurse's office every Monday morning because of stomach pains. Or they're in the office for discipline reasons. And when they did further investigation, they found out it was hunger. And that these kids had missed meals on the weekend. "

Snack Pak 4 kids is expanding to offer food bags in Dalhart this year. Thanks to a $50,000 donation Southwest Dairy Farmers and Elanco made Tuesday, kids will also receive milk with their lunches. Southwest Dairy Farmers General Manager Jim Hill says, "We feel it's very important so that the kids that are coming from food-insecure homes get that nutritious wholesome milk." Elanco West District Representative Michael Harlien says, "Many don't have the opportunity to have milk on the weekends. The only time they get milk is when they're at school."

Snack Pak 4 kids says children at risk have drawn pictures of their stomach burning and of them being sad. Howell says, "We had kids draw their pictures. And what does hunger feel like. And one of the things that I see right here is this child says "Oh no I look in the refrigerator, and there's nothing in the refrigerator. It's not something they didn't like, or something they didn't want. But nothing."

Howell says having food bags to take home for the weekend helps kids not worry about starving and allows them to focus on material being taught in class. He says, " The kids are chosen based on behaviors that they express in the classroom. Whether it be complaining of hunger, rushing to lines, digging in the trash."

Area teachers say it improves the child's academic performance, self-esteem and attitude.

Jessica Abuchaibe, NewsChannel 10.

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