State Farm Neighborhood Assist ® 2018

Food for Thought

Provide weekend food bags to kids in need through a service learning program operated by K-12 kids.

100% of the funds will be spent on food for kids who may go hungry on the weekends as provided through a service learning program for Vision Charter Academy K-12 students who operate the program, which is valuable to their growth and development as well. "Kids feeding kids" and all benefit. We are the only organization providing weekend food to kids themselves thereby alleviating hunger and the worry of hunger, allowing the recipient to focus on school and being a child. The economic downturn of the community has shown an increase in kids opting into the program each year. These are families who may not be on public assistance, but are in need of weekend food when free or reduced breakfast and lunch is not available. The food is just for the student who is in the program, 2 breakfasts, 2 lunches and a snack taken home each Friday. The service experience supports the social-emotional learning of Vision students through awareness, compassion, and action in meeting local hunger needs.

100% of the money would be spent on food going directly to needy children in public schools throughout the county. The grant would sustain the program for two more years when added to other fundraising efforts, food drives and donations. This will provide 300 kids with weekend food and a service program for 400 kids in four communities, which would not happen without the Food for Thought program. The kids feeding kids program benefits our whole community by meeting local hunger needs AND providing awareness, compassion, and service to kids who operate the program. Food for Thought supports the entire community in taking action to meet local childhood hunger needs. The surgeon general's report showed that kids who are worrying about hunger do not learn well. Additionally, kids who experience serving others grow in character more than any lesson in a classroom can teach. Graduates come back and continue to give money, food and time (both those who received and those who provided food).

Food for Thought started in 2009 with 12 backpacks of weekend food to one school. It quickly grew to over 300 and has now expanded from a small group of at-risk high schoolers serving to 400 K-12 students serving. The lasting impact is evidenced by the number of kids, now young adults, who experienced Food for Thought as students who donate, give, and serve in food drives, fundraisers, and weekly efforts. Testimonials show it changes lives, both those who receive and those who provide the food. It is hard to imagine our county without Food for Thought, but it will not be sustainable without the State Farm support, which spread over two years provides the solid base of food purchased through a local food bank to give stability in meeting the need. The previous State Farm Neighborhood Assist Grants empowered so many to support the program through online voting. The awareness and compassion brought our community closer. The money helped us through hard times in economics and transition.