Local groups feeding students during winter break

Posted at 9:53 PM, Dec 14, 2016
and last updated 2016-12-14 23:29:13-05

Waco ISD and 16 other school districts in McLennan County are working with a local non-profit to help feed students during winter break.

This week, Pack of Hope volunteers packed nearly 1,700 bags of food for 880 students across Central Texas.

"[Since 2011], we have grown from 200 children to the number that I said, 880 and more," Jane Bounds, co-founder of Pack of Hope, said. "These children get a lunch and a breakfast everyday during the week but there's over 66 hours over the weekend that children in this group get no food."

The organization packs meals once a week for students to have on the weekends. During the holiday season, however, they run into a problem.

"The challenge during the holiday season is that there aren't a lot of programs going on," Cliff Reece, Director of Child Nutrition Services at Waco ISD, said.

Pack of Hope filled extra bags this week in order to give each student in the program two bags for winter break. The bags include child size snacks, like Pop-Tarts, cheese and crackers, an apple and an orange.

Teachers told Bounds and Reece they see the difference in the children who get the meals.

"It impacts their ability to learn. It impacts their ability to focus when they're at school and it helps with discipline in the classroom because they're not worried about this or trying to survive on a bag of chips or a soda pop or something like that," Reece said.

Killeen ISD is also making sure students have food during winter break. The district's Homeless Awareness and Response Program (H.A.R.P.) put together about 300 boxes for families within the district. They are also giving Christmas gifts to about 600 students and their younger siblings.

For more information on how you can help or donate, visit Pack of Hope or Killeen ISD H.A.R.P.

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