FLORENCE, SC (WBTW) – Each week hundreds of children go to school hungry after the weekend. One fairly new organization in Florence is working to make sure that all Elementary and Head start students have meals when they are not at school.
The Organization started just three years ago, when a former school teacher shared stories with her St. John’s bible study class about hungry first grade students.
Three women from the class began program with just two schools. Now they serve all 34 schools in the district.
They give 1800 students meals each Friday for the weekend.
Children within the free or reduced lunch program are identified by teachers. Then a permission slip is sent home with students. Parents must sign off for approval.
Board members say the rapid growth of the organization shows just how many students struggle with hunger each day.
Allie walker, Vice President and Co- Founder of Help 4 Kids Florence explains, “We’ve really found that there was a need. For most of us it was a very humbling experience to realize that in our town there are children that go to bed without enough to eat.”
More than 100 volunteers bag and distribute the bags of food for young students to take home for the weekend. The children’s names are anonymous for members of the Help 4 Kids organization. Teachers discreetly place the paper bags of food in the children’s book bag.
Each food bag includes nutritious and self-serving foods that children can prepare themselves or eat right away. After the bags are packed, they are stamped with a stamp that says “You are loved.”
Clark Reifsnider, Secretary of Help 4 Kids Florence said, “We’re delighted that we’ve been able to grow but we’re so sad that we had too.”
The Help 4 Kids organization is currently selling Christmas cards to reduce childhood hunger in Florence County. The cards are ten dollars.
All of the proceeds from the cards will help feed students. Ten dollars feeds one student for a month. One hundred dollars feeds a child for one year.
Board members say 80 percent of the kids that get weekly bags share them with their family or siblings.
Other ways to help the organization include volunteering to make or distribute bags.
Purchase a Christmas card by stopping by St. John Episcopal Church in Downtown Florence at 252 S Dargan St, Florence, SC 29506.
The cards are also sold at the CSP Insurance Services office at 2420 Hoffmeyer Rd D, Florence, SC 29501
If you cannot make it to either location call (843) – 580 – 4111.
Other ways to help include:
- Monetary Donations
Adopt a child for just $100 per child each school year
- Organize or participate in a Help 4 Kids food drive
- Volunteer to make or distribute bags for students
For more information visit: http://www.help4kidsflorence.org/