In many schools across Denver, schoolchildren are depending on school lunch programs to survive throughout the week. Thanks to free and reduced meal programs, these young children can be kept satiated Monday through Friday. However, this all changes once the weekend rolls around.
Without their school to support them during the weekend, these children have a two-day gap in their immediate access to sustenance. A local Arvadian sought out to fill this gap just nine years ago, with the launch of a nonprofit organization by the name of “Food for Thought Denver.”
Food for Thought Denver is the brainchild of Bob Bell, founded in 2012 upon his awareness that a disturbing amount of Denver’s school children weren’t getting enough to eat. Through volunteer support and work with the local Arvada Rotary club, the nonprofit was able to raise enough donations to provide bags of food on the weekends, coined “PowerSacks,” to two public schools in the Denver area.
The organization remains fully operated by volunteers even after nine years of work, now striving to abolish weekend hunger across 72 different schools across Denver. Most of their food recipients are able to receive free and reduced meals throughout the school week, though this leaves two full days during which these children have restricted food access. With the introduction of PowerSacks, this gap can finally be filled.
A large part of Food for Thought Denver’s ongoing efforts is their weekly PowerSack refills, which take place every Friday. Local citizens, students, and corporate volunteers get together to fill each bag with non-perishable food items to feed both the child and their family for the remaining weekend. Once filled, the PowerSacks are delivered to their respective students on Friday afternoon for them to take home to their loved ones. Bell and his organization’s ultimate mission is to shape a community void of weekend hunger, so that struggling school children can be satiated without depending on school programs.
Visit their website at www.foodforthoughtdenver.org to Give a Bag, Pack a Bag, or simply learn more about their overall mission. The organization currently takes donations through their Give a Bag option on the Colorado Gives platform until December 7th. However, benefactors can make either a one-time payment or set up for recurring donations at any time. Spending $128 yields one PowerSack per week for a whole school year, while $250 is enough to supply enough PowerSacks to feed one class for a month. To personally volunteer your time and start packing PowerSacks, the Food for Thought Denver website provides their weekly locations.