With Central Florida food assistance needs continuing to shatter records, the Winter Park Health Foundation (WPHF) approved a $48,000 grant to the Second Harvest Food Bank of Central Florida providing for renewal of its Hi-Five Food Pack program for hungry students in nine local schools.
The renewal will mean 2,000 food packs will be distributed each month during the 2011-2012 school year at nine elementary schools. They include Aloma, Audubon Park, Brookshire, Cheney, Dommerich, Hungerford, Lake Sybelia, Lakemont and Killarney Elementary Schools.
“This nutritious food over the weekend helps students come prepared to learn and focus on their studies on Monday mornings,” said Dave Krepcho, President/CEO for the food bank. “Countless teachers share the story of children coming without eaten over the weekend and the huge challenges they have in learning without having basic sustenance. Especially when you consider that there are over 4,000 homeless children in the Central Florida school system, this support from WPHF is so vital, special and appreciated.”
Food packs contain shelf-stable, ready to eat or easy to prepare food for children to eat on days they are not in school for breakfast and/or lunch. Teachers discreetly slip the food into the backpacks of children in need.
In addition, the grant covers research into program improvement and enhancements. WPHF and Second Harvest Food Bank officials will be looking at ways to serve students in middle and high school.
They also plan to once again host the annual holiday food distribution event in December along with Orange County Public Schools Food & Nutrition Services staff.