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LOVEPACS PROSPER, CELINA, GUNTER

Providing Food For Students During School Holiday Breaks

Article by Niki Carbajal

Photography by Darlene Morton

Originally published in Celina Lifestyle

Lovepacs was established in 2011 to provide food to students who would go hungry over long holiday breaks. Working in conjunction with local schools and volunteers, Lovepacs’ founding families wanted to equip communities to nourish children as an expression of 2 Corinthians 8:14:

“At the present time your plenty will supply what they need, so that in turn their plenty will supply what you need. Then there will be equality”.

The Lovepacs Vision hopes that communities experience God's love by serving together to provide food for children in need. Working with school counselors to identify children in need, boxes of food include single serving items, canned protein, shelf-stable breakfast items like oatmeal, and some pantry staples. The goal is to provide weekend and school break meals for those students that rely on the school nutrition programs to sustain them.

Lovepacs currently operates in eighteen communities, more than 270 Texas schools, and has served over 3.5 million meals. Relying primarily on volunteers, Lovepacs hosts in excess of 5,000 volunteers every year. Service opportunities include food packing, inventory, food delivery. Other events require community involvement to be successful such as fundraising garage sales and food drives. 

The Prosper, Celina, and Gunter communities have a Lovepacs chapter (Lovepacs PCG) co-chaired by Darlene Morton and Jeni Sexton. Darlene first became aware of the need for weekend food and the Lovepacs organization through a presentation with the Prosper Ladies Association. Her involvement began with a fundraising garage sale and over the last five years, has increased to organizing large groups of volunteers, moving into and stocking a warehouse, loading vehicles for food delivery, among many other tasks. As with most non-profit ministry focused jobs, Darlene’s and Jeni’s husbands, Bill and Kevin, are intimately involved in the day-to-day operations. Picking up donations and delivering food and warehouse operations top their lists.

Lovepacs PCG specifically serves 106 children in Celina ISD. This includes providing two boxes of food every three weeks in the summer months. Service organizations like Young Men’s Service League (YMSL) and the Northern Collin County Zeta Phi Beta Sorority are regular volunteers in the food distribution schedule while local Boy Scout and Girl Scout troops, cheer squads and baseball teams organize food drives. 

Anyone and everyone in the community can get involved in meeting the needs of these students. Here are some ways you can support Lovepacs PCG and students in the Celina community.

1.     Volunteer in the warehouse on Saturdays from 10 to noon. Wear closed-toed shoes. Children under 12 must be supervised by a parent. 

2.     Deliver food boxes on Saturdays from 10 to noon. Darlene and Bill have mapped routes and will provide delivery information upon arrival.

3.     Organize a food drive with your sports team, troop, church small group or neighbors. A complete list of needed items can be found at www.lovepacs.org/give-food/

4.     Donate money to be used specifically for food purchases

5.     Designate your business or residence as a food collection site and advertise it as such in your social and business circles

6.     Donate your unwanted clothing and textiles to Donate 2 Impact where donations are collected, and revenue generated through their recycling program. Find more information here www.r2sdfw.com

For more information about Lovepacs PCG, visit their website at Lovepacs.org or contact Darlene Morton at Darlene.morton@lovepacs.org.

Lovepacs provides mostly non-perishable, easy to open, and minimal cooking food items. Lovepacs also provides school counselors with stocked snack closets and hygiene products they may distribute to children who demonstrate a need. Items needed include:

  • Granola bars
  • Protein bars
  • Single-serving snacks such as pretzels, Goldfish crackers animal crackers
  • Microwave popcorn

Niki is a native Texan raised in Melissa. She recalls as a child driving to Celina with her PaPa to buy cattle and finding pastureland and more pastures. Niki works for the Celina Chamber of Commerce and has been involved in serving with Grace Bridge and Helping Hands of Celina. Although her home address is in Prosper, her heart is in Celina. 

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