Grand Rapids, MN (March 08, 2020) – Second Harvest's Kids-Packs-to-Go Backpack Program provides nutritious foods that require little or no preparation to children who are at risk of hunger during long weekends and school vacations. The packs are distributed monthly at schools with high levels of children living in poverty in Itasca, Aitkin, Cass, and Crow Wing counties. Each pack contains three to five pounds of food and an age-appropriate handout about nutrition.
The Grand Rapids Area Community Foundation is pleased to recently award $10,000 for this program through the Edgar and Hannah Hetteen Fund.
Food Insecurity Is More Than Just Being Hungry.
Many schools in the region report free-or-reduced-price-meal eligibility over 50 percent. Some schools report as high as 80 percent.
The problem of hunger isn’t one merely marked by the occasional discomfort that comes from a stomach that has been empty for too long. Scientific research has repeatedly shown that people who are food insecure on an ongoing basis are disproportionately affected by chronic diseases including diabetes and high blood pressure. In addition, research has shown that food insecurity can be particularly devastating for children. When a child doesn’t receive enough nutritious food on a regular basis, serious implications for his or her physical and mental health, academic success, and future well-being begin to manifest. The many damaging consequences can include delayed development; risk of chronic illness like asthma and anemia; behavioral problems like hyperactivity, anxiety, and aggression; lower test scores and achievement in school; and other long-term challenges for the children, their families, and their communities.
During the 2019/2020 school year, Second Harvest will distribute a total of 29,898 packs to 3,322 children in 22 schools. The total program cost will be $104,643. In Itasca County specifically, 10,908 packs will be distributed to 1,212 children in 11 schools at a total cost of $38,178. This represents growth of more than 10 percent over the 2018/2019 school year. The grant request of $10,000 will be used to help deliver the program in Itasca County. The specific activities for which funding is needed include:
Purchasing nutritious, non-perishable foods including shelf-stable milk, single-serve fruit, cereal bars, nuts or peanut butter, single-serve cereal or granola, popcorn, fruit snacks, cheese crackers, and power bars. Packs contain between 10 and 15 items each month. The average cost is $3.50 per pack.
Non-food items that are distributed one time per year include toothbrushes and toothpaste.
The Grand Rapids Area Community Foundation is pleased to be able to help alleviate hunger in the Greater Itasca Area. “We are so incredibly fortunate to have people who care about the health and well-being of our area”, remarks Sarah Copeland, Director of Grants and Programs at the Community Foundation. “Edgar and Hannah Hetteen really understood about investing in community, and giving back to the community that supported them. It was pretty simple. Edgar and Hannah put the Community Foundation in their will, with the Community Foundation as one of their heirs. This year, the Edgar and Hannah Hetteen Fund will provide almost $60,000 to help people in our community. What a spectacular legacy!”
The Grand Rapids Area Community Foundation has been connecting donors’ charitable intentions to community needs for over 25 years to make our Greater Itasca Area – and the world – a better place to live. We invite you to become part of the good work we do, and to include us in the conversation with your financial or estate planner to answer the question “What good do you want your money to do?” For more information, stop in or schedule a visit by calling (218) 999-9100.