During the pandemic, we learned many things about the ways our lives were upended when basics needs could not be met as they had in the past. Kids felt the brunt of that when they couldn’t go to school. Their chance to learn was affected and, for some, the chance to have a steady source of nutrition was also disrupted.
For more than 12 years families have been able to supplement their weekend needs with food packages provided at school by Sharenet.
In 2014 Kingston Cares, a nonprofit in Kingston dedicated to helping people in North Kitsap, recognized that those kids helped by weekend meal packages would also need food assistance during school breaks. Since then, the Food 4 Kids program has been operating during every school break packing food bags for any child.
The program initially focused on elementary schools. Now the program serves kids at Gordon and Wolfle elementary, along with Kingston middle and high schools.
During the last summer break, Food 4 Kids provided 6,300 meals of fresh vegetables, canned and prepared food — enough for a breakfast, lunch and snacks each day of the break for approximately 95 kids. Food is brought to a central location with tables set up in an organized assembly line to pack two bags of food per child. The bags are divided into distribution routes and delivered to families’ homes. The effort for the five weeks of summer took about 300 volunteer hours.
Kingston Cares coordinates with North Kitsap School District, Port Gamble S’Klallam tribe, and the Kingston Kiwanis and Rotary. We are gearing up for the Holiday Break Dec. 19 to Jan. 2, 2023. Packing dates are Dec. 19 and 26. Looking ahead there is also Spring Break April 6-10. Funding comes from grants received by Kingston Cares and individual donations. For details go to kingstoncares.org
Jane and Stan Mack are coordinating the program