I'm dying to tell you about Portland, but before we get to that we have more important business to attend to. Today is the launch of our second annual Food 4 Kids Backpack Program Fundraiser! If you're thinking it hasn't quite been a year, you're right - Caron Golden and I started this program last year during the holidays, but we soon realized that the best time to raise funds for a school related program is in the summer, so that we can get needed help to these kids in time for the school year.
The Food 4 Kids Program was launched in 2007 to provide food for chronically hungry elementary school students on the weekends. These kids receive free or reduced cost meals while school is in session, but do not have food available on the weekends or school holidays for themselves and their siblings. Food 4 Kids provides food directly to them, without requiring their parents to receive a referral to a local food pantry, pick up food at the pantry or prepare it at home. Every Friday, participating students receive a backpack with child-friendly items such as peanut butter, pop-top canned goods, cereal, juice boxes, fruit cups, raisins, pudding cups, granola bars, shelf-stable milk and macaroni and cheese tucked inside.
During the 2008-2009 school year, the Food 4 Kids program served approximately 200 children in eight schools throughout San Diego County. Last year, in just three weeks we collected $6000 in funds and about 1200 pounds of food. As a result, the San Diego Food Bank is now serving 525 children in 19 schools.
Still, only a fraction of the eligible kids are receiving food, and the Food Bank would like to expand the program even further. It costs a mere $6.00 per week per child to fund, and a donation of $250.00 will fund a backpack for a child for the entire 36 week school year. Giving whatever you can afford will help the Food Bank continue grow the program and meet the demand.
In an effort to meet this need, the 2010 “Food 4 Kids” fundraiser has been expanded this year. It is being run not just by myself and Caron, but Susan Russo, of the popular blog Food Blogga, and local chefs/consultants Diane Stopford and Amiko Gubbins. This summer's program will also run for six weeks instead of last year's two, and there are three ways you can help!
1. Monetary Fundraiser: We have a fundraising site on Firstgiving to collect monetary donations, and keep track of our progress. The address is http://www.firstgiving.com/food4kids Donors will be eligible for prizes which will be awarded by random drawing at the end of the event! (More information about the prizes will be posted soon.)
2. Backpack and Food Drive on August 21 at Little Italy Mercato: On Saturday, August 21, a food and backpack drive will be held at the Little Italy Mercato (last year's is pictured above). Please bring neutral backpacks (with no logos or markings and preferably black or red in color) and kid-friendly non-perishable prepared foods such as applesauce, cereal, fruit cups, mac ‘n cheese, pretzels, shelf stable milk, etc. to the Little Italy Mercato between 9 AM and 1 PM, where Food 4 Kids volunteers and Food Bank personnel will be collecting them.
3. Dollar-a-Dish: During the month of August, several San Diego restaurants will select one of their best selling menu items and will contribute $1 to the Food 4 Kids program for every order of that dish sold during the month. As of today's date, the following restaurants have agreed to particpate:
Casa de Bandini
Casa de Guadalajara
Casa de Pico
Croce's Restaurant and Bar
Dining Details Catering
George's at the Cove
Hilton Garden Inn, Del Mar
SoNo Trading Company
The Red Door
Please visit these restaurants during the month of August and ask about their dishes!
More posts will be coming soon with updates about our progress, more participating restaurants and information about the prizes and some other surprises, so please check back with us!
For more information on the San Diego Food Bank and their Food 4 Kids Program please visit:
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