[Here's a reprinting of Marshall Independent's "Faith in Action" column from Friday. The text quoted from the brochure has been updated to reflect the most recent revision.]
By the Rev. Kelly Wasberg
Research has shown that a lack of food can affect children physically, mentally and emotionally. These children get sick more often, test lower in math and reading and can experience anxiety and depression.
A recent group of Christians from Marshall churches have banded together to initiate a "backpack" food support program intended to relieve weekend food deficits for school-aged children with nutritional, high-calorie snacks. Through a partnership with Albright United Methodist Church and Living Word Lutheran Church information has been reviewed, a site visit was conducted in Brookings, S.D., and several follow-up meetings have taken place.
From the brochure: "The program will provide food support to kindergartners by sending home a bag of healthy snacks for the weekend. Up to 75 kindergarteners qualified for free lunches during the 2012-13 school year. The snack bags will be sent home with students on Fridays. The food will be packed up by volunteers once a month and delivered weekly." The bag of snacks will typically include items such as: granola bars, cereal, crackers, trail mix, juice boxes, raisins and applesauce.
According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, 17 million children live in households struggling to put enough food on the table. This includes many families in Marshall of which 36 percent are eligible for free or reduced lunches. The state average is 14 percent.
Though some start-up funds are collected, it will be essential to the success of Marshall Food4Kids to secure perpetual donations and sources of income in order to grow this food support program to meet the needs of our community. Marshall Food 4 Kids has a Facebook page for more information. You may also send an e-mail message to firstname.lastname@example.org. You may also contact Pastor Kelly at 507-337-9673 or Chad Bergjord at 605-690-4344.