Mission and Ministry Grant makes it possible to feed hungry middle school kids on weekends

There are hungry children in Title 1 schools who qualify for the federal program which provides free or reduced-price lunches at school. However, for some of these children school breakfast and lunch programs are their primary source of nutrition. Sadly, on the weekends they do not have access to such meals.

The Healthy Packs program was founded to help this gap by providing kid-friendly, weekend food, sent home in backpacks for elementary age children. Their mission is to make sure school students have enough to eat on the weekends so each child can return to school on Monday morning mentally aware and physically able to concentrate and learn.

This need isn’t limited to elementary school students of course, and many older students are also hungry on weekends. The Church Creative Mission and Ministry grant application submitted by First Christian Church Scottsdale asked for funds to help expand this program to a middle school.

“Our prayers were answered” exclaimed Rev. Judy Stall, Minister of Outreach at First Christian Church. “With the awarded grant money, we started a pilot program of giving $5 McDonald’s meal cards to 20 middle schoolers at one middle school. We found that providing a meal card, instead of the food bag used with the primary students, worked much better with that age group… [since] they were often embarrassed to claim the food bags that the younger students were receiving. McDonalds was chosen since they are so numerous and that they are in the top ten fast food restaurants where nutritious food can be a choice.”

Rev. Stall notes “The response from the participating middle school students has been terrific. One student wrote us, “Thank you for the McDonald’s gift cards. It has been helpful to me. When I don’t have food, I use the card. Also, sometimes my sister comes with me to McDonald’s. I love having my card and using it. Thank you so much.” That’s just one student impacted by the generosity of the Mission & Ministry Grant.”

The Church Creative Mission and Ministry grant money provided seed money to start this test pilot program.  It has been so well received that next school year the Healthy Packs program is going to expand the food card program into a second middle school.

“As founder of the Healthy Packs program and on behalf of the Healthy Packs Advisory Council I can’t thank the Arizona Region and the Church Creative Mission and Ministry grant committee enough for seeding this new and exciting program. There are middle schools students like the one quoted above who also want to say ,”Thank you” for enabling us to be “the hands and feet of God” in reaching out to these hungry middle school kids in need.” – Rev. Judy Stall.

Church Creative Mission and Ministry grants help Arizona Disciples churches fund transformation processes and ventures that engage the congregation’s surrounding communities to address poverty and/or systemic injustice/s.

These grants are made possible through legacy gifts from Beryl Meritt. We are grateful for her dedication to new mission and ministry in Arizona.

Click the button below to learn more about the grant, including the application and award schedules.

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