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Snack Pak 4 Kids is coming to Friona

Snack Pak 4 Kids is a nonprofit program started in 2010 to provide nutritious weekend snacks for students who live in food-insecure homes. Many of these children are reliant on the school system for their main nutrition.

But what do they have to eat for dinner or over the weekend? These kids are sent home on Friday and may not have sufficient food until they return to school on Monday.

According to statistics, Texas and New Mexico have the highest rates of child food insecurity in the nation and we are right on the border. What can you do to help?

Dyron Howell of Amarillo started this program out of his garage two years ago. He and his family were feeding four children at an Amarillo elementary school. The program has now spread to the entire Amarillo ISD, Bushland, River Road, Hereford, Lockney, Clarendon, Walcott, Fritch, Tulia, and now Friona.

A weekly Snack Pak would include: 2 juice boxes, one easy open peach or mixed fruit cup, one package of Pop-Tarts, 2 boxes of individual size cereal, one pop top can of chili w/beans, beans & franks, or lasagna, one package pretzels, one package tropical fruit mix, one package shelled sunflower seeds, and one package animal crackers. Once a month one 16 oz jar of peanut butter and a box of saltines are included. Starting this year Southwest Dairies and Elanco are providing shelf-stable milk.

Snack Pak 4 Kids is funded solely on donations and volunteerism! The organization buys food items from a food bank in Oklahoma and it is delivered to Friona (to an unnamed location at this time). Volunteers will meet to sort the food into the appropriate number of bags and then they are delivered to the schools and put into a child’s backpack on Friday afternoon. The children receiving the food packs are referred by teachers, counselors, and cafeteria personnel. Additional food may be included if there are under school age children at home.

“What we need now are corporate sponsors, churches, individual donations, fundraisers, and volunteers to help with the packing and distribution,” said Jo Beth Gipson. Many corporations have sponsored Peanut Butter and Pop-Tart drives to help with this effort. Monetary donations are sent directly to the Friona Account for Snack Pak 4 Kids. When food is ordered it is charged to this account.

Your donation is completely tax deductible and 100% of the funds are designated for food. Donations are being accepted at Friona United Methodist Church and First Baptist Church.

If you have any questions about volunteering or to find out more information, please contact Jo Beth Gipson at 806-336-1983. Questions about donations should be directed to Becky Jones at 806-382-3984. You can also visit www.snackpak4kids.org.

“Friona, we are counting on you! Let’s show our care and concern for hungry little people,” Mrs. Gipson said.