This was the title of an article in the Hamilton Spectator back in January of this year. The article (by Teri Pecoskie) introduced me to Food4Kids, and I fell in love and had my heart broken all at the same time! Let me explain.
According to a needs assessment carried out by Food4Kids and the relevant school boards more than 1,200 kids in Hamilton, 400 in Halton and 600 in Niagara don’t get proper nutrition, especially on weekends, when schools and food banks are closed. In real terms this means over 2,000 kids in our area who leave the relative food security of school (and their breakfast programs) on Friday, worrying about what or even if they will eat during the weekend.
This is where Food4Kids comes in. Every Friday more than 70 volunteers help fill bags with as much fresh and healthy foods as these kids, aged 5-14, can carry to see them and their families through the weekend.
This wonderful program was started in 2011 by Lena Bassford after she had met a 10-year old boy one morning the previous winter outside the doors of a breakfast club in north Burlington. She had arrived an hour early, but this boy beat her there and told her “I’ve had nothing to eat all weekend, I’m so hungry. Can I please have some food?” As a parent of young children, reading this absolutely broke my heart. It took Lena Bassford aback as well, and 8 months later she launched Food4Kids!
Food4Kids is a community based organization that doesn’t receive any government funding but rather relies heavily on the community coming together to help our kids in need. Currently feed 500 kids every week in 24 different schools in Hamilton and Halton, Food4Kids projects that by the end of this school year, that number will increase to 650 kids in 38 schools.
As I continued to read about Food4Kids I learned that the school my daughter went to last year a few hundred meters down the road from our old house, was a recipient school, and it made it so obvious to me how invisible this suffering can be. For sure I had seen kids without mittens and hats in the dead of winter but it never occurred to me that these kids wouldn’t even have enough food to eat…
This is why we are so excited to launch this holiday campaign with Food4Kids! As the holidays approach (the campaign will run between today and the end of this year), for every dinnerlicious! gift card you buy, we will help feed a child through Food4Kids. This is a wonderful opportunity for you to give 2 gifts, helping a family member or friend with the gift of reduced mealtime stress, and at the same time give a child in need food for the weekend!