Kids Create Change

How Youth Can Help Feed the Community

Article by Donna Burklo

Photography by Cheryl Parton

Originally published in Bend Lifestyle

Empowering kids to be agents of positive change for neighbors in need helps them to know their value in the world at an early age. Children and youth can not only make a significant difference in the health and well-being of others, but they can also inspire people of all ages to do the same. Having value is a powerful building block for healthy self-esteem.

One way local youth and families give back is through organizations that address food insecurity—the state of being without reliable and nutritious food. Many of our neighbors don’t have traditional access to healthy food because they simply can’t afford this basic human need. Fortunately, Central Oregon is home to organizations where people of all ages can make a difference in a variety of ways, whether that collecting food, providing hot meals, or purchasing a plate of nourishment for a person in need.

Do I Have Time to Give? 

I Can Donate Time to:

Family Kitchen

Family Kitchen is the community free meal program in downtown Bend since 1986. They serve eight full, nutritious meals each week. Claire Buresh, age 14, and her brother Lucas, 12, spend many of their Wednesday afternoons with other teen students volunteering in Family Kitchen’s Prep Squad program. They cook (“My favorite things to make are soup and pasta salad,” says Claire), clean, organize and sometimes decorate. “I do this because it’s important for people to have food,” Lucas adds. FamilyKitchen.org

Do I Have Resources to Give?

I Can Donate Resources to:

The Bend Food Project

Brothers Jack and Paul Fecteau, ages 15 and 13, work alongside their mom gathering food items for the Bend Food Project. As neighborhood coordinators, they drop empty grocery totes at neighborhood doorsteps and come back to retrieve filled bags for delivery to the program drop sites. From there, donated food will be delivered to food pantries in the city of Bend. “I’m trying to get my kids to see that they can give back to the community and do some good,” says their mother, Kathy. BendFoodProject.com

Do I Have Money to Give?

I Can Donate Money to:

Hunger Prevention Coalition

Kids love saving change and watching the value grow. Every $2.45 of collected change can buy a meal for someone through the efforts of the Hunger Prevention Coalition (HPC). The HPC’s all-volunteer board provides grants to local organizations addressing food insecurity issues. Look for “Help Fill Empty Plates” placards at the register of local stores and ask the checker to scan the code for one meal ($2.45), three meals ($5), or to fill a food box ($10). HungerPC.org

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