In 2011 we started serving 30 students with a long waiting list. We slowly added more kids to the program as we received more funding. In six months we doubled the number and have steadily increased the number as funding permitted. This week we distributed 105 bags of food to chronically hungry kids in our community.
We try to keep the cost at $5 per bag. The cost of the bags are defrayed by people donating food items and groups holding food drives. It costs $240 to feed one student each weekend throughout the school year. The Oconee County School faculty and staff are some of our biggest supporters. The Cooperative Extension office provides space for the storage and packing of the bags. We rely on volunteers to deliver the food and we receive tax-deductible donations from businesses, churches and members in the community. It takes many people and organizations to make this program a success!
We continue to improve the quality of items in each bag. At the end of the year we survey the children to find out what were their favorite and least favorite items. Last year we added a second piece of fruit because it was by far their favorite food.
We started this school year by adding a tube of toothpaste and a toothbrush, donated by local dentists, to each bag. We also have a volunteer coordinator working with different groups to provide each child a little holiday gift bag four times a year.