The Serving Our Kids Foundation delivered its 500,000th weekend food bag to a student who would otherwise not have enough food to eat on Saturday and Sunday. This milestone was realized at CT Sewell Elementary School, one of the nonprofit organization’s first beneficiary schools. The recipient was 9-year-old Shylet Eve Strain, a fourth grade student, who received the 500,000th bag during a special ceremony at the Henderson school prior to the normal Friday weekend food deliveries to school students.
“We’re so excited to deliver our half a millionth weekend food bag and help fill the hunger gap of kids who don’t qualify for government services or other backpack programs,” said Patricia Farley, chair of the Serving Our Kids Foundation board. “It’s a testament to the unwavering dedication, persistence and ‘can-do’ attitude of Dale Darcas, our executive director; countless volunteers and committed team; and many great supporters and partners who have made it their mission to feed hungry kids.”
The 500,000th bag was delivered by Sue Lindhout, the 86-year-old volunteer driver who has been delivering weekend food bags to CT Sewell for the past six years. She delivers 60 food bags – each weighing about 3 lbs. – to Sewell, and another 60 bags to two other schools each Friday.
“We’re so grateful to Serving Our Kids for providing food for our students in need,” said Dr. Holli Ratliff, principal of CT Sewell Elementary School. “They are truly a great partner and part of the ‘village’ that puts our students in the best position to learn. Without the weekend food bags they provide, students would go hungry on Saturday and Sundays, and hungry kids have a hard time being able to focus, learn and grow.” As the milestone site, the school was presented with a special 500,000th commemorative bag plaque.
Serving Our Kids is currently filling and delivering 3,500 weekend food bags to students at 70 K-8 schools throughout the Las Vegas Valley. Since the beginning of this school year, there have been 27 percent more requests for the weekend food bags from schools – about 4,450 bags are now needed. Organization representatives estimate the actual number of kids requiring weekend meals to be 8,000 to 10,000.
To meet the growing demand and continue filling the weekend hunger gap, Serving Our Kids recently launched a fundraising initiative to raise awareness about child hunger and food insecurity in the Las Vegas Valley. Called the Fall Food Flash, the campaign encourages more people, businesses and organizations to donate funds or designated nutritional food items for those in need, and it encompasses new and existing Serving Our Kids programs and activities to engage the public at all levels.
First Foundation Bank, the local branch of the private wealth management, personal banking and business bank, was one of the first companies to answer the call and presented a $25,000 check to Serving Our Kids at today’s event. Following its mission, First Foundation Bank and its employees strive to lead the industry by sharing their unique skills, time, and talents to invest in the nonprofit community and support the communities in which they work and live.
“Upon hearing about Serving Our Kids through Dale Darcas, our customer and organization executive director, our team volunteered to pack the weekend food bags at the Serving Our Kids warehouse. It was so meaningful to all of us that we wanted to do more to make a difference in children’s lives so we’re pleased to make this $25,000 donation, and celebrate the 500,000th bag delivery,” said Paula Campbell, First Foundation Bank branch manager and vice president.
“We’re grateful to First Foundation Bank for their generous contribution which will buy a lot of food for kids in need,” said Darcas. “We’ve had great support in the past but need even more food donations and funds, as we have a waiting list of kids who need our help so they don’t go hungry.”
“Other organizations, like Three Square, do a tremendous job of focusing on the population who qualifies for nutrition assistance, but a need exists for those who do not qualify and continue to struggle,” he said. “Children don’t understand complex federal eligibility guidelines or the fancy terminology used to designate their eligibility for food – they just know they are hungry. Serving Our Kids aims to feed them.”
Fall Food Flash has a variety of sponsorship, partnership and general giving opportunities covering financial donations and in-kind contributions. Many of the volunteer and participation opportunities are particularly beneficial for company and organization team-building and community service projects.
The Serving Our Kids warehouse in Henderson serves as the distribution center and site for volunteer activities. It is located at 121 Industrial Park Road, Suite 110. For information, donations and volunteering, visit http://www.servingourkids.org or call 702-358-1056.
About Serving Our Kids Foundation
Serving our Kids Foundation is dedicated to feeding and serving the needs of Clark County children. While there are governmental programs and other organizations that provide children in need with breakfast and lunch on weekdays during school, weekends can be an issue. Since 2012, Serving Our Kids has stepped in to fill the weekend nutrition gap of vulnerable kids and now assists 3,500 children, grades K-8, in 70 schools who would otherwise go hungry. Referrals for weekend food bags are up 27 percent over last year, but the actual number of kids needing weekend nutrition assistance is estimated between 8,000 to 10,000. The nonprofit organization mobilizes the strength of community volunteers and donations. In addition to non-perishable food items, personal care items also are collected. For information, donations, volunteering and partnership opportunities, visit http://www.servingourkids.org or call 702-358-1056.
# # #