A few years ago the Rotary Club of Albuquerque Rio Grande approached us about supporting our Food for Kids backpack program. While many generous donors make much-needed gifts to this program, they wanted to do more than just give money. They really wanted to get involved with a particular school. I think their support and involvement is a great model for others.
A shocking 40% of all the people we serve are children. Child food insecurity in our state is 7% above the national rate of 21.6%. One way we reach children is through our Food for Kids backpack program. We send home a backpack of non-perishable, kid-friendly food with 3,495 elementary school children every Friday during the school year. These kids are getting lunch at school, but on the weekends they don’t, so too often they come to school on Monday hungry, upset and unable to enjoy school.
The Rotary Club of Albuquerque Rio Grande said they wanted to work with a school in the South Valley by tying their $11,000 gift for Food for Kids to volunteer time. We suggested Navajo Elementary; a school that has been in the program since 2006 and receives 112 backpacks per week.
We put them in touch with the Food for Kids coordinator at the school. Since 2011, their Rotary Club members have installed playground equipment including four-square courts. They’ve brought the kids exercise equipment like jump ropes and soccer balls.
Ryan Jaseph, a club member says that their volunteer times at the school have been some of their most popular events. Ryan said, “Every time we’re at the school we can see how much these kids appreciate and need our support. As a club we’re really hands on so this has been a great partnership.”
Navajo Elementary is lucky to be involved with this great group of supporters, but there are 40 other Food for Kids schools that have not been “adopted.” If you are a member of a group that might be interested in adopting a school, please give me a call at 349-8678 or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Stephanie Miller is the Director of Development for Roadrunner Food Bank.