Local organizations will help homeless kids with hunger this summer

Local organizations will help homeless kids with hunger this summer

Homeless kids in our area will be getting help this summer thanks to local organizations.

In collaboration with Greater Spokane Food Truck Association (GSFTA) and Giving Back Packs (donated funding for bus passes), Spokane Valley Partners is launching a summer extension of its Food For Thought program.

The goal of the program is to eliminate barriers to access and provide youth with a safety net for summer food insecurity.

Children without homes are twice as likely as other children to experience hunger and this gravely threatens behavior, school performance, academic success and cognitive development.

“Vulnerable youth need support to navigate systems of support,” said Lynn Markez, Communities In Schools Site Coordinator. “Having food in their stomachs can help give a large piece of security to keep them grounded and assist them in making appropriate choices and achieve change.”

To resolve this throughout the school year the Food for Thought program provides weekend meals for homeless students within the four Greater Spokane Valley school districts (CVSD, EVSD, WVSD and Freeman). For the 2016-17 academic year, 851 students within the four districts registered as homeless.

Currently, nearly 450 of those students are served by the weekend meal program.

To bridge the summer service gap, numerous agencies and business are serving as emergency grocery pickup sites for students to access kits containing a 2-3 day supply of food. In addition, the Greater Spokane Food Truck Association is equipping students with punch cards to redeem at any association food truck. “No kid should ever go hungry,” said Tony Epefanio Greater Spokane Food Truck Association President. “We all can work together and fix this problem.”

Each student can redeem up to 55 meals through the summer and participate in the region’s food truck events. To combat transportation challenges, summer youth bus passes have generously been provided by Giving Back Packs and GSFTA Gives Back.

“The need for these homeless teens is overwhelming, especially in summer when all the safety nets provided through the school structure are removed,” said Cal Coblentz, CEO of Spokane Valley Partners. “We believe the most important thing we can do to create true poverty change is to help these kids change their stars. This summer program is a first of its kind, and we are all very excited to see this collaborative effort come to life.”

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