Sharpened pencils, shiny new shoes and movie characters on brimming lunch boxes are signs that children are heading back to the classroom ready for a new year of learning.
In order to learn well our kids need to be well fed. Sadly, one in four kids in Washington aren’t getting enough to eat each day despite their parents struggle to put food on the table. The need is there in every city and county in the Evergreen State. As a statewide organization, Northwest Harvest is there, too, and expanding efforts where the need is greatest.
Through our Three Squares backpack program, Northwest Harvest works to make sure our school kids get the meals they need to succeed. Thanks to partnerships and generous donations, this year we will provide food for the weekends to children in 47 schools across the state. That’s more than 27,000 meals a month in schools where, on average, 86 percent of children qualify for free and reduced-price meals.
Four schools have been added to the program this year, with two in Spokane joining thanks to a year-long initiative by Ford Motor Company Fund to raise awareness about childhood hunger. Television ads and social media campaigns supporting the initiative will run in Washington and throughout the Northwest through 2013.
Spokane South Rotary members this year stepped up to sponsor another Spokane school after a member realized one of her son’s friends wasn’t getting the nutritious food he needed.
The fourth addition to Three Squares this year, an elementary school in Moses Lake, is sponsored in honor of Northwest Harvest past board chair Dick Grader. National Frozen Foods chose to make the commitment in his name to honor his years of service fighting hunger in Washington.
As your children come home from school today and ask for a snack, remember that not all families have a healthy meal waiting for kids at the end of each day. But with the help of new partners at Ford Motor Company Fund, Spokane South Rotary and National Frozen Foods—plus all those who have been supporting the Three Squares Program so generously for years—we can make a real difference in a child’s life.
With the help of our Three Squares sponsors, Northwest Harvest is filling bellies to help fuel young minds. We know that a better future means investing in all Washington children now to set them up for the opportunities and success they deserve.
Three Squares Corporate and Foundation funders: Amgen, Byron and Alice Lockwood Foundation, Capital One, CenturyLink Clarke M. Williams Foundation, First Fruits of Washington, Ford Motor Company Fund, IKEA, Inland Northwest Community Foundation, The Loeb Family Charitable Foundations, Dan & Pat Nelson Family Foundation, The Principal Financial Group, RealNetworks, Stokes Lawrence, P.S., Suquamish Tribal Council, Wesley United Methodist Church, Weyerhaeuser Giving Fund, Yakima Valley Community Foundation.