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Readers’ donations for Harvesters’ BackSnack program hit a five-year total of $1 million

Children in the Center School District recently made colorful notes and pictures expressing their feelings about the BackSnack packs of food they receive on Fridays to take home for the weekend.
Children in the Center School District recently made colorful notes and pictures expressing their feelings about the BackSnack packs of food they receive on Fridays to take home for the weekend. The Kansas City Star

The Star is partnering with Harvesters again on a virtual food drive to feed KC kids. To donate, go to FeedingKCKids.HarvestersVFD.org.

Some donations came in at $10, some for $5,000.

In all, Star readers have donated more than $178,000 to the KC Challenge so far this month.

And that means that as of Wednesday, people have given more than $1 million in the five years of the virtual food drive, which continues through Dec. 31. All that money goes to Harvesters’ BackSnack program, which provides children in the Kansas City area with a pack of food each weekend to tide them over until they return to school on Monday.

Valerie Nicholson-Watson, president and CEO of Harvesters, said the food bank is grateful that so many people took time to think of hungry people in the area.

“Your gifts are helping many children in our community live happier, healthier lives,” she said.

On top of this season’s donations — which will provide more than 536,000 meals, according to Harvesters’ calculations — readers also gave their time. Nearly 600 people volunteered during three Star Sundays to help pack BackSnacks. Their work helped prepare more than 24,000 food packs.

The Star first partnered with Harvesters in late 2010. At the time, the numbers of children in the two states who often didn’t have enough food at home were startling. Missouri ranked fifth in the nation for “food insecure” children, and Kansas was 12th.

The newspaper has run dozens of stories in the past five years detailing the struggles many families have in putting enough food on the table. Stories also have shown the generosity of volunteers who spend countless hours packing and delivering food for the area’s hungriest children.

As this year’s KC Challenge approached, a group of kids sat down and described in words and drawings how getting their BackSnacks makes them feel.

One 10-year-old said he feels excited when “I get Harvesters.” He drew green hearts and stars and a smiling kid.

Kaitlyn, also 10, said she feels happy.

“Because my BackSnack gives my family food when we need it.”

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

Feeding hungry kids

The Star is again partnering with Harvesters this holiday season on a virtual food drive to raise money for the area’s hungriest children.

All money goes to Harvesters’ BackSnack program, which provides low-income children with packs of food each Friday to tide them over until they return to school Monday. A $25 donation provides a child BackSnack packs for a month; $250 provides BackSnacks for a year.

If you would like to give, go to FeedingKCKids.HarvestersVFD.org. You also can mail a check to Harvesters, 3801 Topping Ave., Kansas City, MO 64129. The drive will continue through Dec. 31.

Everyone who has donated to the drive before midnight on Christmas Eve will be entered in a drawing for a football autographed by the Chiefs’ Jamaal Charles.

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