Harvesters virtual food drive

Teacher sees how BackSnacks help her second-graders

Updated: 2013-12-21T04:28:49Z

By LAURA BAUER

The Kansas City Star

Jennifer Smith only has to talk with kids in her second-grade class to know that the Harvesters’ BackSnacks many take home on Fridays make a difference.

She tells the story of a boy at Kansas City’s J.A. Rogers Elementary School. On a Monday morning, near the start of this school year, she asked whether he’d had a good weekend.

“Yes,” he told her. “We had lots of food.”

“Did you have a party or something?”

“No,” he said. “I got my BackSnack on Friday.”

A schoolteacher for 14 years, Smith has seen hunger play out in the classroom. Children come to school without breakfast, telling her there was no food at home. Or they have stomachaches from not eating enough. Years ago, a child came in on a Monday and told her he hadn’t eaten since school on Friday.

She and other teachers know to keep crackers on hand. They also know why it’s important to send the BackSnacks home with the kids who need them the most.

Smith tells another story, of a second boy from her class. When the announcement came one week for kids to go get their BackSnacks, he pumped his fist and said, “Yes!”

Smith told him he must really like his pack of food.

“Yeah,” he said. “We don’t have much food.”

What struck Smith most was what he said next: “I always share with my mom and brother.”

“It’s nice to know that not only is he getting the food when he needs it,” she said, “but he shares it.”

KC Challenge: Childhood Hunger

The Star is partnering with Harvesters on a virtual food drive to raise money for the area’s hungriest children. All money donated in the KC Challenge goes to Harvesters’ BackSnack program.

If you’d like to give, go to www.feedingkckids.harvesters.org. You can donate in a loved one’s name, with reader dedications published in The Star’s Christmas edition. The deadline for dedications is 5 p.m. Monday.

To reach Laura Bauer, call 816-234-4944 or send email to lbauer@kcstar.com.

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