Food 4 Kids Answers a Quiet but Dire Need in our Community

By September 20, 2019

Did you know that one in four children in our community lives with some level of food insecurity — that is, a lack of available financial resources for food at the level of the household?

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) defines food insecurity as “a lack of consistent access to enough food for an active, healthy life.” And, whereas “hunger” refers to a personal, physical sensation of discomfort, food insecurity refers to a lack of availability, access, utilization, and stability when it comes to food.

Put more simply, about 25% of children living in Fort Worth know what it’s like for there to be no food available in the house, no way to get any, no one to prepare it, or no consistent supply of food. Or in some cases, all of the above.

Children who attend public school usually do have the opportunity for a hot breakfast and lunch on weekdays, but what about weekends? Although it may be hard for most of us to imagine, for these kids the idea of an afterschool snack is as remote as a Disneyland vacation.

FUMCW Answers This Plaintive Call

Responding several years ago to this alarming and heartbreaking statistic, our First Street Methodist Mission began its Food 4 Kids ministry that sends food home for the weekend for 350 elementary-aged children at T.A. Sims, Van Zandt-Quinn, and Charles Nash Elementary schools during the school year to relieve fear and worry about where their next meal will come from.

“Our goal is to make sure that hunger doesn’t keep any child from learning,” explains Linda Murphy, Director of the First Street Methodist Mission. “Studies show that hungry children are distracted and unable to concentrate. Imagine taking a test first thing on a Monday morning if you haven’t eaten much over the weekend. We want to make sure that every child arrives at school on Monday morning having had enough to eat all weekend.”

How does Food 4 Kids happen week after week throughout the school year?

Each week during the school year, groups of 10 volunteers come to First Street Methodist Mission for one hour between 9:00 am and noon, September 15 through May 17 this school year to help pack these take-home kits of healthy snacks for vulnerable youngsters.

To volunteer a little of your time to help combat food insecurity in the lives of the elementary schools we serve, whether or not you are part of a group serving together (many do!) please sign up to volunteer online.

If you have questions or would like more information about how to become part of supporting this vital ministry in our community, please contact Linda Murphy, Director of the First Street Methodist Mission (lmurphy@firststreetmission.org).

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