On Tuesday, November 17th, elementary school kids at Cypress Creek Elementary School tallied up over 1,000 cans of tuna they’d been collecting for Second Harvest Food Bank. The cans will find their way to Kids Cafes just before Thanksgiving; helping close the nutritional gap that exists in our neediest communities.
The motivating force behind this yearly project is awareness raising among 4th and 5th graders who are members of the Kiwanis K-Club. One in four of their counterparts across Central Florida struggles with food insecurity. Standardized testing and heightened expectations for academic achievement have placed more demands on young students, making nutrition even more essential for success.
Over 70% of students in Orange County Schools qualify for free lunch, a figure that’s a reliable indicator of conditions at home. For example, a family of two adults and a child must make less than $716 a week (Gross Income) to receive free lunch benefits. With rent, transportation and health expenses, working families face difficult choices.
During the last few years, more and more children have been identified as being part of a homeless family unit. According to Orange County Schools, 6,820 students experienced homelessness last year. *
Needless to say, these figures are disturbing, but efforts by the district as well as caring community partners are bound to improve matters.
With that in mind, Second Harvest Food Bank representatives were on hand at Cypress Elementary to cart away the cans and engage the youngsters in conversation. By spotlighting their efforts, we are confident that their parents and community will continue to be strong advocates for a worthy cause.
Brent Hambley, Michelle Soldano and the K-Kids for continuing this fine tradition at Cypress Creek Elementary.
Childhood Hunger Programs Manager