The Winter Park Health Foundation (WPHF) has approved a $25,000 grant to expand the Second Harvest Food Bank of Central Florida’s Hi-Five Take Home Food Program to needy students in Hungerford and Cheney elementary schools.
Under the program, launched as a pilot program in October 2006, students suffering from chronic hunger receive free food packs that are discreetly placed in their back packs. The food packs contain nutritious food items that can meet a child’s average calorie needs for two days. They receive the packs once a month.
Food items are nutritious, easy to open, and have a shelf-life of at least a year. They are packed at the Second Food Harvest’s Orlando warehouse by volunteers, and then are delivered to schools.
The program, available in just seven other elementary schools in Orange and Osceola counties, is focused on schools with 75 percent or more of their students participating in the free/reduced cost school lunch program. School staff members identify students with symptoms of chronic hunger to participate in the program.
A staff member or teacher then slips the food into the child’s back pack, so he can take it home without others knowing about the food pack.
“The Winter Park Health Foundation believes that healthy kids make better students, and that it is hard to be healthy and productive if you don’t have enough to eat,” said Patty Maddox, WPHF President and Chief Executive Officer.
“It is our hope the Hi-Five Take Home Food Program will provide some relief to the growing number of local children who are suffering,” she said.
In addition to food, the packs include literature—in Spanish and English—for parents and guardians on subjects such as food stamps, earned income tax credit and other potential sources of support.
WPHF is a private, not-for-profit organization supporting programs that improve the health of youth, older adults and the community-at-large.