Since 2004, Common Ground has been packing bags of food to help feed local youngsters during the summer. Mansfield ISD teachers and counselors noticed that children were returning to school each fall hungry. Many who were on the free and reduced meal program during the year did not have access to food during the summer.
First called A Week Without Hunger, the program expanded in 2007 when Common Ground partnered with the Mansfield Kiwanis Club and became Feed the Kids.
The Mansfield ISD nutrition department came up with a list of nutritious, kid-friendly food that youngsters can prepare without using a stove or oven.
Feed the Kids runs 12 weeks during the summer, starting the Wednesday after school is out and ending the week before school begins in the Mansfield ISD.
Each bag provides 7 breakfasts, 7 lunches and 7 snacks to be supplemental foods. Common Ground hands out an average of 12,000 bags each summer, a massive increase from when the program began with 2,000 per summer.
Approximately 40 volunteers arrive at 10 a.m. Wednesday to stage the food for packing. More volunteers, up to 100 each week, come at 6 p.m. to pack the food and take the bags to food pantries to be distributed.
In 2015, Feed the Kids added a literacy program. While parents are picking up food at the pantries, children can pick out as many books as they want and take them home to keep. The Mansfield ISD has reported that kids are not losing their literacy levels over the summer, and some are gaining literacy levels since the program began.
The books are donated by UPS, Half Price Books and other donors.
For more information on donating or volunteering, contact Suzy at firstname.lastname@example.org.