Flyer Pride Packs Aim To Combat Weekend Hunger
In the United States, 15 million children face hunger. Three educators in Little Falls, Anita Larsen, Laura DeChaine, and Cindy Casillas, are working to change that by combating food insecurity in elementary students.
The Flyer Pride Pack Program was implemented two years ago to provide children who have been identified as at-risk or challenged by weekend hunger with a bag of food that is child-friendly, nutritious, non-perishable, and easy to make and eat. Each Pride Pack contains five entrees, two breakfasts, two snacks, and one fruit.
“Children are identified by teacher referral, our knowledge as school social workers of families that could benefit, and often times new families coming into the district. We divide out the food weekly. Those students who receive credit for helping us out, they will bag the foods and then the custodians will deliver the tubs to the elementary schools,” explained Laura DeChaine, School Social Worker at Lindbergh Elementary in Little Falls.
The bags are delivered during the students’ lunch and recess in order to be private and confidential. Through grants, civic clubs, faith communities, community partnerships, and individual donations, 2,094 Flyer Pride Packs were able to be distributed just last year.
“[Food] is a basic need for all children and they are more able to attend to tasks, more alert if they’re not hungry and attendance is also improved. Students are able to do their projects and homework because they’re feeling good,” added Cindy Casillas, a Kindergarten Teacher at Lindbergh Elementary. “If you’re hungry, you’re not feeling good.”