ODESSA, TX (KWES) - Now that school is out, some kids in the Permian Basin will be going hungry. But thanks to local non-profits, families are able to get some nutritional help over the summer.
During the school year, many kids receive free or reduced lunches but how about the weekend or times like the summer when school is out? That's when organizations like the West Texas Food Bank and Food 2 Kids step in.
Craig Stoker, Executive Director of Food 2 Kids, said, "There was a need in elementary schools where kids were going hungry on the weekends and what we do is we distribute brown sacks of food that go into the kids backpacks on Friday's so those that might not necessarily eat between their school lunch on Friday and their school breakfast on Monday are the ones that we focus on."
Food 2 Kids began their mission in 2010, but last year they made a big impact here in the Permian Basin feeding kids in Odessa, Midland, Big Spring, Pecos and Monahans.
"This past year, we distributed almost 75,000 bags of food and although our program is anonymous we don't know what kids are getting our sacks. We do estimate it around 2,800 kids," said Stoker.
That's the estimate on how many kids may be going hungry during the summer months.
"In the summers since we don't have the same reach we do in the school year, we do rely on the West Texas Food Bank and ECISD to provide the summer feedings. It's my understanding that there are over 20 sites that ECISD does take care of in partnership with the food bank," said Stoker.
Food 2 Kids just launched two new summer programs, the "Pop-Tart Drive" and the "Hygiene Drive." Those drives aim to collect donations throughout the summer so they can begin handing out sacks to kids in need this August.
You can donate pop-tarts of any kind as well as hygiene products that you either buy or might pick up at hotels during summer trips.
"We will start taking donations now, and you can drop off the donated items either here at the West Texas Food Bank or at the Junior League of Odessa," said Stoker.