DCCF September 2017 Community Grants supported Harvesters “BackSnack Douglas County Childhood Weekend Feeding Program” – we are thankful to be a part of this crucial program that provides nutritious food options for food-insecure households in our community.
From the Harvesters community grant report -“Douglas County’s childhood food insecurity rate is 18.6% (Map the Meal Gap 2017). That’s 4,030 children who don’t have enough to eat to be healthy, and may often experience the stress of not knowing where their next meal will come from. Hungry children can’t learn, grow or focus the way their well-fed peers can. The connection between nutrition and cognitive and physical development means even short-term deficiencies can impact a child’s health, behavior, and ability to concentrate. Research confirms the devastating effects of childhood hunger:
• A 10-year study found children and youth who experience hunger are more likely to have poorer health, and repeated exposure is particularly toxic.
• Children in food-insecure households have more stomach aches, headaches, and colds, and higher rates of hospitalization, iron deficiency anemia, and chronic health conditions.
Childhood food-insecurity affects physical and mental health, academic achievement, and economic success into adulthood.
Programs like BackSnack are part of the solution for our community’s food-insecure children. This includes kids like recent 5th grader Crystal. Like her two older middle-school sisters, Crystal started the school year excited about learning and making new friends.
Their mom knew to excel in the classroom they would need regular access to healthy food, including lots of fruits and vegetables. But because money is tight for this family, she can’t always make room in her budget for nutritious groceries. Thanks to Harvesters and all those who support our programs, every weekend Crystal takes home a backpack full of nutrient-rich food. This means she is better able to concentrate and can continue to excel in math class. Crystal aspires to become a doctor, so honing her reasoning skills is important for reaching her goals.
• At Crystal’s elementary school 85–90% of students receive free school meals. “I’m so grateful and feel blessed that you do this for our kids,” said BackSnack Site Coordinator and teacher Sheri. Even at her young age, Crystal is aware of her family’s financial situation and shares this gracious sentiment. “Thank you for giving us the food when we need it,” Crystal said.
• After 39 years of feeding the hungry, Harvesters remains committed to being part of the solution to end hunger. By working with schools, community partners, and donors for 14 years to provide BackSnack, Harvesters helps children like Crystal maintain a consistent, healthy lifestyle.”