Seattle nonprofit Hunger Intervention Program is helping low-income kids in need access nutritious food
In Washington state, one in four children live in low-income households that don’t have enough food to nourish their families. For these kids, the National School Lunch Program is a saving grace during the school week. But what happens when the bell rings on Friday? If children don’t eat well on weekends, they come to school on Monday hungry and at a physical and mental disadvantage compared to their more affluent peers.
The Healthy HIP Packs Program covers that weekend meal gap for low-income kids. Organized by Seattle’s nonprofit Hunger Intervention Program, the kids’ meal program served nine children when it launched in 2011. Less than five years later, the group expects to feed 220 children per week in the 2015-16 school year. The program is available at Viewlands, Olympic Hills and John Rogers elementary schools in Seattle Public Schools, and Briarcrest Elementary and Kellogg Middle School in the Shoreline School District.
Kids in need receive a pack containing enough food for six meals and two snacks per child, with a healthy balance of grains, milk, protein and fruit. The packs also include information for the parents, such as nutrition tips and additional resources. The nonprofit hosts biweekly “packing parties” to assemble the HIP Packs and volunteers — including families — are welcome to help. After the meals are packed, volunteers bring them to the participating schools and tuck them into the students’ backpacks.
HIP welcomes donations of time, money and specific food items. hungerintervention.org