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Week-END Kids’ Hunger surpasses goal

The Week-END Kids’ Hunger Project, a program to help kids facing hungry weekends, has had a busy summer, and thanks to the generous community has surpassed its $10,000 goal to fund itself through the coming school year.

Week-END Kids' Hunger Project-LOGO-COLOR

Posted on 8/20/16

By Melissa Anderson

Week-END Kids’ Hunger Project, started through the efforts of hardworking volunteers in the community, has raised over $11,500 thanks to donations from businesses, residents, church congregations, and other charity organizations.

“I just have to say ‘WOW!’ to the outpouring of support. We have exceeded our financial goal and are preparing to provide meals for our kids, hopefully by mid-September,” Karl Breddin, a member of the committee, said.

In response to childhood hunger in the community, the ‘Week-END Kids’ Hunger Project’ was started this summer by concerned community members. During the school year, free and reduced meals provided through state/federal funding help alleviate some of this hunger. A surprising and concerning number of students at the area elementary schools, approximately 34% children enrolled, qualify for free or reduced meals.

But during the weekend and breaks, those same students may not have access to food. Week-END Kids’ Hunger will order pre-packed healthy, nutritious meals and snacks from the Great Plains Food Bank in Fargo to discreetly give to those students signed up for the program late during the school week.

“Starting this fall, we will provide pre-packed food each Friday to the lockers and backpacks of elementary students who may otherwise not have enough to eat on weekends,” the committee stated.

The cost of the program is approximately $5 per student, per weekend. The committee had a goal to raise $10,000 for the 2016-17 school year, but after news spread of the committee’s plan and goals, the response was swift.

Farmers and Merchants Bank in Langdon agreed to assist with the program by donating $2,500 per year for a minimum of three years. The Louie and Anna Mae Wohletz Charitable Trust committee also donated $2,400 to the project.

Area congregations have also been instrumental in raising funds. One such congregation, North Parish, raised funds after Olson also took a sample food pack of what will be given to students to a recent service.

“The offering from my little congregation was $1,000,” Adrian Olson, a member of the committee, stated.

The private donations from individuals has also been overwhelming for the group of volunteers working towards ending child hunger in the area.

“We live in a very generous community, and the people of Cavalier County care about one another,” Kathy Downs, a member of the committee, said.

“Anytime the children of this community are in need, I am continually humbled by the outpouring of kindness and support by so many who live here,” Melissa Hiltner, also a member, added.

While the group is working on garnering grants to assist in the funding of the program, in the long term, every dollar that comes from the communities means so much and will ensure that the program exists for many years to come.

“We are extremely grateful for the donations we have received. We continue to need community support as the number of children that will be receiving food packets is unknown and we have not yet included middle or high school students,” Deb Balsdon, a member of the committee said.

Parents of students at LAES and St. Alphonsus will be provided information on the program during fall orientations. If parents sign a request form, giving permission for their child(ren) at these schools to participate, they will be enrolled and will begin receiving food packs shortly after school starts.

“Children in our community are hungry. We can help,” the committee said.

Tax-free donations may be made and sent to the Cavalier County Emergency Food Pantry, PO Box 630, in Langdon. Please include “Week-END Kids’ Hunger Project” in the memo line of any checks or accompanying any cash donations.