Providing healthy food to sustain children over the weekend
October 17, 2016
A new program called Food for Fuel kicked off last week providing dozens of students at risk of hunger with healthy food to eat over the weekend.
The Food for Fuel program is a collaborative effort between the Watervliet Civic Center and the elementary school working together to alleviate hunger for students who may not have access to regular meals when school is not in session.
“Our schools have a free and reduced-price lunch population of about 65 percent, so for some children in the community, school meals may be their only steady source of food during the week,” said Superintendent of Schools Dr. Lori Caplan. “This new program will help offset the food gap that can occur for children in need over the weekend, and reduce the negative impacts of hunger on students being ready to learn when they return to school Monday morning.”
Every Friday during the school year, the program will provide a bag full of non-perishable, child-friendly, ready-to-eat or easy-to-prepare food to bring home for the weekend for as many as 60 students – all of whom are recommended through a referral system.
The bags, which include foods such as bread, canned tuna, bottled water, juice boxes, fruit cups, breakfast cereals and healthy snack items, are assembled during the week and given to the students before dismissal on Friday afternoon.
Elementary Principal Loida Lewinter thanked those involved with the program, especially the Civic Center for its role in initiating Food for Fuel. “Mrs. Ferris (Ms. Geraldine) and Mrs. Bariteau, as well as Bill Sheehy and Joe Holland of the Civic Center, all worked hard to make our first Food for Fuel distribution a big success,” she said. “The smiles on our students’ faces when they received their bags Friday afternoon were absolutely priceless!”
The Watervliet Civic Center received funding from the United Way of the Greater Capital Region, the J.M. McDonald Foundation, Wal-Mart Local Foundation and Kinderhook Bank for the Food for Fuel program. These grants ensure that economically disadvantaged children are provided healthy, easy-to-prepare food free of charge during the school year. Approximately 60 children will benefit from the Food for Fuel Program each week.