HELENA — Helena Food Share launched their 10th annual Kid Pack Challenge on September 11 to help fight childhood hunger.
The fundraising event kicked off with parade from the Lewis Street Pantry to Bryant Elementary with people carrying Kid Packs to present to the school.
Food Share provides around 1,100 supplemental food packs to Helena-area children each week who are at risk of weekend hunger.
“We have a lot of kids who don’t know where that next meal is coming,” explained Trish Klock, Bryant Elementary Principal. “We can feed them breakfast, a snack and lunch--but that time after school we really need to make sure they’re taken care of as well. This food pack program lets us take care of kids on the weekends and at night when they may not just have that next meal.”
The program was first piloted by Bryant Elementary 10 years ago and saw huge success.
Kid Packs are distributed each Friday of the school year and include items such as oatmeal, ravioli meals, low-sugar fruit cups and granola bars.
The program needs around $175,000 to provide enough kid packs through the school year.
To kick things off, First Interstate Bank presented Helena Food Share with a $29,000 check.
“No child should be hungry in America,” said Brenden Craig, First Interstate Bank Helena president. “We’re proud to support the Helena Food Share and organizations like it who give and give generously to make our community a better place to live, work, and raise a family.”
At the fund-raising event First Lady of Montana Lisa Bullock had one out of every five people stand up to represent the average number of children at schools who face food insecurity.
“One in five children across our state do not know where their next meal is coming from, on our Native American Reservations it’s even higher,” said Bullock. “You can have the most talented teacher in the classroom, but these kids can’t focus on their academic tasks if their focus is on just making it to lunch. This program is so amazing because it gives them a security of knowing there’s food at home, which helps them focus on their homework.”
First Interstate Banke’s donation to Food Share coincided with their company wide Volunteer Day.
On Wednesday, First Interstate supported more than 200 nonprofit organizations via approximately 250 service projects, totaling around 2,000 volunteers.
People can donate to the Kid Pack program on Helena Food Share’s Website.