Editorials

Help Harvesters fight childhood hunger in the Kansas City area

Students from Maranatha Christian Academy, including Natalie Craig (left) and Natalie Rehfeld, both seventh-graders, sort donated groceries that will be used in BackSnacks for middle school students in need in Olathe and Gardner.
Students from Maranatha Christian Academy, including Natalie Craig (left) and Natalie Rehfeld, both seventh-graders, sort donated groceries that will be used in BackSnacks for middle school students in need in Olathe and Gardner. The Kansas City Star

This is the time of year when people’s hearts go out for the well-being of others — especially children. Giving toys to children for Christmas is a joy.

But providing food for kids in need is essential. Unfortunately, the need is great. It’s why The Kansas City Star is partnering with Harvesters-The Community Food Network for the fifth consecutive year to host a virtual food drive.

All funds raised go to Harvesters’ BackSnack program, serving 19,500 students a week for 34 weeks in 404 elementary schools in 112 districts.

Food insecurity is a big problem affecting one in five children in the 26 counties that Harvesters helps. “The economic recovery has not reached the families we’re serving,” said Ellen Feldhausen, Harvesters spokeswoman.

It takes $250 to provide a weekly BackSnack for a student for the full school year. The nutritional food is for two breakfasts, two other meals and two snacks. That gets the child through the weekend when he or she otherwise might go hungry. School lunch programs help during the week.

“When children have enough to eat on the weekend, it has a positive influence on their health,” Feldhausen said. They miss less school, get better grades, have fewer disciplinary incidents and trips to the school nurse.

Kansas City area contributors have been incredibly generous. In the last four years the program has raised $827,802, providing BackSnacks to 3,858 children. The fundraising goal for the virtual food drive this year is $200,000.

Food is a basic but necessary thing for children’s academic performance and development. The BackSnack program has been successful for four years. Unfortunately, the need continues.

To make a donation, go to feedingkckids.harvestersvfd.org.

  Comments