When Morning Star discovered that Prairie View Elementary School (the school right next door) has one of the highest numbers of children on the free/reduced meal system in the area and that kiddos would go home on the weekends with nothing to eat, we had to respond. As a church, we wanted to reach out to those families and provide their children with food to take home on the weekends so they didn’t have to go hungry.

 

How does it work?

We have partnered with Operation Food Search to come up with a monthly menu, pack the food in bags, and deliver it to the school on Friday mornings. There are opportunities to help pack the food, donate food, shop for food, and deliver the food. You can help inventory the collected food and stock our shelves. We are passionate about helping these children and showing them that they are loved and that we care. Come join us!

How do you determine which kids get food?

We have met with counselors at Prairie View and they have identified a number of children who would benefit from our program and allows those families the option to participate. We currently serve about 60 children. Out of respect, the names are kept anonymous and the school ensures care and dignity in the distribution of the food. As we seek to feed hungry kids, however, it begs the question, “Why do we have hungry kids?” Morning Star is actively engaging this question with Prairie View administration and the surrounding community with our Pin Oak Community Collaboration effort. For more information on this effort, contact Julie Turner.

How can I donate food or money for this program?

Due to regulations through Operation Food Search, our list is quite specific. And please keep in mind that kiddos have to carry these bags home in their backpacks so while we appreciate the generosity of those big ginormous cans and jars, it’s better for the children (and their backs) if we stick to regular sized, plastic jars and cans.

Take a look at the list below and add a few things to your regular shopping day, then simply put your donations in the blue Operation Food Search barrels in the lobby. You can also ask Lori to receive the monthly emails letting you know what items are needed.

  • Macaroni & Cheese
  • Peanut Butter (regular sized plastic jars please)
  • Jelly (yep, just plastic)
  • Soup (kid friendly flavors)
  • Canned Spaghetti w/Meatballs or Spaghettio’s
  • Canned Ravioli
  • Beef-A-Roni/Beef Stew
  • Chili
  • Individual Sized Breakfast Cereal
  • Individual Packets of Oatmeal
  • Canned Vegetables (Green Beans, Carrots, Corn)
  • Breakfast Bars
  • Canned Fruit (Peaches, Oranges, Fruit Cocktail, Pears)
  • Individually Packaged Snacks (Cheez-It’s, Animal Crackers, Raisins, Fruit Snacks)
  • Granola Bars
  • Juice Boxes
  • Hot Chocolate
  • Ramen Noodles

Of course, you can also donate money to help purchase the food if you prefer. And if you’re a coupon-er, we’d love to have your help!

How can I get more involved in this program? Can my kids help too?

Come one, come all! Teenagers, grandparents, itty-bitties, moms and dads, tall people, short people, in between people. Come alone or bring the family.  Contact Lori for a schedule of food packing dates as well as dates to do inventory and stock shelves.  You can help once a month, twice a month, one time or lots of times.  We will tell you want we need and you can jump in when you can.  But it’s helpful to let us know you’re coming so we know how many to expect and in case plans change. We pack food every other week in the evening with the possibility of adding a daytime opportunity (give Lori a shout out if that appeals to you). We want everyone who wants to help to have that opportunity.

My small group wants to help, what can we do?

We love small groups!  Your small group is welcome to volunteer for a week to do the packing of the bags.  OR, your group can commit to donate a certain food item for a month, such as providing all the macaroni and cheese we need for the month or committing to provide cereal for 20 kids, etc.  These are just some ideas – feel free to dream!  We are willing to work with any small group that wants to donate to the program

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