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Snack Pak Program seeks community support

by JOSH MCDONALD
Local Editor | November 22, 2022 1:00 AM

It’s a hard pill to swallow, but the fact remains that countless children rely on schools for their daily food.

Often that means a child only receives breakfast and lunch — the meals provided by the schools, Monday through Friday.

The Silver Valley Snack Pak Program aims to prevent that — but they need the support of their community.

The Snack Pak Program sends food home to those students in need each week to fill in the gaps when the child isn’t in the care of the school.

Organizer Christy Jacobs has been busy with her fellow group members to ensure that their shelves are stocked and that no students ever experience having an empty tummy and not being able to rectify it.

Each month the group meets to fill bags up in preparation for the weekends for the students at Pinehurst and Canyon Elementary schools.

This year Jacobs anticipates that they will distribute roughly 600 bags of food per month to 150 students — and that is just at Pinehurst.

With food costs going up, each bag costs roughly $4.50 to $5, multiply that by 600 and suddenly you’re looking down the barrel of a $3,000 a month tab in order to feed these students — a far cry from the 80 students per month they were able to feed when the program began.

Jacobs had formerly operated the food bank at Real Life Pinehurst — where her husband is the pastor — and she was approached by the administration from PES about figuring out an alternative to the backpack program that the school was using for the same purpose.

“Mr. Groves would find so much of the food in the hallways because it wasn’t good food,” Jacobs told the News-Press. “And he asked if we could help. We wanted to make sure that they have nutritious food, but also food that kids will eat. A hungry child struggles to think and doesn’t learn.”

The food is bagged up and then discreetly distributed to the students on Fridays — and all of the food that is sent home is easy to prepare, or can be eaten as is.

The Snack Pak Program recently opened a food pantry at Kellogg Middle School to serve some of their older students as well.

“We allow the students to go into the pantry with a faculty member and then they are able to ‘shop’ for a few items from each shelf, including a main dish item, a protein and breakfast items. Whatever we can purchase, wherever we can purchase it.”

Older elementary-aged students can also receive food for their younger-than-school-aged siblings.

Funding has been the major hurdle for the nonprofit group — operating solely on word of mouth, donations and a small fundraiser, Jacobs is fully aware that to maintain the current levels of food supply, it’s going to take more dollars.

“We know how to shop smart to get the most out of our money while still making sure that we’re getting good food for the kids,” Jacobs said. “But we don’t want to start something that we have to pull in February because we ran out of food and money.”

Food donations are accepted, but Jacobs and Co. prefer money so they can buy in bulk and distribute the same foods evenly throughout.

For more information on how to get involved with the Silver Valley Snack Pak Program, visit its Facebook page.

If you would like to donate to the program, please contact Christy Jacobs at 208-640-6542 or by email at Cjacobs@rlmsilvervalley.com.

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