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Adopt Backpack: organizers broaden awareness Tell North Platte what you think

“National No Kid Hungry Day” will be celebrated on Tuesday and the North Platte “Adopt-A-Backpack” program is asking for your help.

“Go orange and support the cause," said spokeswoman Kirsten Parker.

Mayor Dwight Livingston will issue a proclamation at 8:30 a.m. Tuesday at Gracie Mae’s.

Parker said the WCHD Healthy Kids Coalition, Bank of Heartland, Wal-Mart DC and the North Platte Public School Foundation send more than 210 packs home with North Platte school children per weekend, to meet the needs.

The packs have food that the children can prepare on their own. Their names are submitted by teachers and school counselors who notice the children in need.

Some children need help for a week, a month, a year or throughout their childhood, Parker said.

Through this program, lines of communication between teachers, counselors and the children are opened. The children do better in school personally and academically, in part because they don’t have to worry where their next meal comes from.

"These kids can now focus on what is important…being a kid," Parker said.

Here are ways to help:

• Encourage your staff to wear orange colored clothing.

• Join our facebook page at www.facebook.com/adoptabackpacknp.

• Post on your marquees “GO ORANGE” for National No Kid Hungry Day, Sept. 24.

• Attend our official GO ORANGE bake sale at Gracie Mae’s.

• Purchase an official GO ORANGE t-shirt, available at Whitetail Screen Print (Limited supplies.)

• Make a donation in one of our orange cans (or put out a donation can yourself). You can “Adopt-A-Backpack” for as little as $6 (per pack) or $288 for an entire year.

• Encourage kids to participate in the Kid’s Essay Contest (www.nokidhungry2.org).

• Forward on this information to your friends, co-workers and family.

The North Platte “Adopt-A-Backpack” program was launched in November 2012 to help raise money and awareness for the Backpack Program ran through the Healthy Kids Coalition. It was determined that there was a need beyond what resources were being given to feed area children, and that many children were on a waiting list. Within only a couple of weeks, funds were raised to ensure that no child was on a waiting list anymore for food. In October 2012, nearly 120 kids were be serviced through the backpack program, and now more than 200 kids receive packs weekly or in an emergency situation.

To ensure that no child will ever be on a waiting list for food, your help is needed in raising awareness and funds. Currently, funding is through the NPPS foundation’s Prepared to Learn Fund, a non-profit 501(3)c organization.

Here are the facts:

• Most families struggling with hunger are employed.

• Hunger is number one on the list of the world’s top 10 health risks.

• Hunger is the single biggest solvable problem facing the world today.

• Research shows that providing in-school meals, mid-morning snacks, and take-home rations through school feeding programs can alleviate short-term hunger, increase children’s abilities to concentrate, learn, and perform specific tasks. -World Bank, 2013

• On an average school day, 21,000,000 children rely on free or reduced-price lunches.

• 9 out of 10 K-8 public school teachers indicate they believe eating a healthy breakfast is key to academic achievement.

• 3 out of 5 K-8 public school teachers say they see children coming to school hungry, regularly.

• Average attendance in school increases by 1.5 day for children who regularly start the day with a healthy breakfast.

• Children who struggle with hunger are likely to be sick more often, to recover from illness more slowly, and to be hospitalized more frequently.

• Children who struggle with hunger are more likely to experience headaches, stomachaches, colds, ear infections, and fatigue.

• Children who struggle with hunger are more susceptible to obesity and its harmful health consequences.

• Children who regularly do not get enough nutritious food to eat tend to have significantly higher levels of behavioral, emotional and academic problems and tend to be more aggressive and anxious.

• Teens who regularly do not get enough to eat are more likely to be suspended from school and have difficulty getting along with other kids.

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The North Platte Bulletin - Published 9/23/2013
Copyright © 2013 northplattebulletin.com - All rights reserved.
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