Across Denton County, 14% of the population suffers from food insecurity. According to a study by Feeding America in 2020, there will be more than 18 million children that experience food insecurities. In Denton County, 54% are not likely to be eligible for assistance. The Lewisville Independent School District's feeder pattern culminates with the following three high schools: Lewisville High School, Killough High School, and Harmon High School. The following middle schools feed into these high schools: Durham Middle School, DeLay Middle School, and Hedrick Middle School. Among the six campuses, an average of 72% of students qualified for free and reduced lunch during the 2019-2020 school year, indicating that their family was economically disadvantaged. With poverty also comes the crisis of food instability, extreme mobility, and malnutrition.
A report from No Kid Hungry explained that children who go hungry are more likely to experience health challenges, such as getting sick more often and suffering from "developmental impairments that limit their physical, intellectual and emotional development," as well as educational barriers, including lower academic achievement and increased social and behavioral issues, (2009). No Kid Hungry also found that adults who experienced hunger as children are less prepared for the physical, mental, emotional, or social challenges of the workforce, (2009). Additionally, they "create a workforce pool that is less competitive, with lower levels of educational and technical skills," which reduces their economic potential.
PediPlace is a family Care Fund that provides medical care to uninsured children. In 2019, PediPlace provided primary pediatric healthcare to 6,596 patients, 23%, 1486 of whom are uninsured. The uninsured receive testing for a proper diagnosis and treatment. The annual fee Pediplace provides is between $9000 and $12,000 in lab fee assistance. The ongoing laboratory supply cost totals more than $30,000 annually.
• When children experience prolonged poverty and hunger, damaging chemicals are released in their brain.
The Lewisville Noon Rotary partners with local agencies such as Communities In Schools of North Texas, to not only bring light to this issue affecting the Lewisville community, but to demonstrate service above self by alleviating the need and providing healthy food to students who suffer from food insecurity.
MEETING THE NEEDS:
With funding from the Rotary Foundation, the Lewisville Noon Rotary will work closely with the Lewisville Independent School District, Communities In Schools (CIS) of North Texas, Pediplace, and LovePacs to provide a food pantry during the 2020-2021 school year to six high need middle school and high school campuses. The High Schools will include Lewisville High School, Harmon, Killough, and the middle schools will include Hedrick, Degan and Delay. Through the Rotary Foundation grants and Rotarian support, we will be able to buy food for the pantries for kids to have during the day and weekends as well as shelving and storage for our new Hedrick Campus we are adding this year.
Lovepacs is a non profit organization that provides meals for kids on holiday's that school is closed for the weekend. We will be serving these same schools with food packages for those weekends. Rotarians will work to help buy the food and package the food through the Lovepacs organization.
Pediplace provides the medical care for uninsured children. We will be providing funding for lab test for children to help provide a diagnosis.
These community outreach funds will help keep our kids fed and help to keep them healthy and be able to stay in school for their education.
As soon as funding is approved, Lewisville Noon Rotary will purchase the food, hygiene items, basic needs items, storage shelves, storage boxes, bags, and supplies to organize and/or or re-stock the pantries. In general, the timeline of services provided to students aligns with the school calendar, with enrollment and initial services during August- September, continuing services through May of the following year.
HOW PROJECT FUNDS WILL BE SPENT:
Funding from the Rotary Foundation will be spent on essential items for the Rotary Food Pantries at Lewisville High School, Killough High School, Harmon High School, Durham Middle School, Hedrick Middle School and DeLay Middle School. Items that will be purchased include:
- Healthy, self-serve foods, meals, and snacks. (This may also include gift cards for groceries and longer-term food needs for homeless and transient students.)
- Hygiene items and basic needs items such as deodorant, toothbrushes/paste, facewash, sanitary napkins, soap, latex or rubber gloves, sanitizer, and wipes for food safety and other needs emerging from the assessment of the school staff and CIS Site Coordinator.
- Storage unit, shelving, and bins to safely and sanitarily store food
- Bags for daily and weekend food packs
- Office supplies such as signs and tags to orderly label and organize the pantry
The LovePac items will be purchases at Sam's by Rotarians and then Rotarians will assemble and distribute to the campuses for the weekend.
• Items to be purchased included:
• 15 oz can vegetables (peas, corn, green beans, carrots)
• 15 oz can fruit
• 15 oz can meat (tuna, chicken)
• 15 oz can chef boyardee
• individual packs Easy Mac
• individual packs Ramen
• Individual packs oatmeal
• Granola Bars
• Individual size snacks (1 - 1.5 oz pretzels, goldfish, cheezits, peanut butter crackers, etc)
• Peanut Butter
• Individual apple sauce
• Lab testing will be purchased by Pediplace through Rotary funds with a report from Pediplace on how many lab test were provided.
• Breakdown: $5400 for Communities in Schools
• Love Pacs food $1342.98
• PediPlace $3000
• Lewisville Noon Rotary Contribution: $4871.98 and RI contribution: $4871.94 for a total grant of $9742.98.
INVOLVEMENT OF CLUB MEMBERS:
We believe that the success of any project rides on the follow through. The Lewisville Noon Rotary club members will be involved in the purchase of the food, shelving, and supplies, the packing of the daily and weekend food bags, and the organization and set up of the food pantry- both initially and on a regular basis. Our goal is to achieve at least 100 hours of Rotarian service to the Rotary pantries by the end of May 2021.
Rotarians will also be heavily involved in the follow-up services that are required to ensuring student success by partnering with each school campus and local nonprofits such as Communities In Schools of North Texas, LovePacs and PediPlace. Rotarians will be encouraged to serve throughout the year in the following roles:
- Mentors, who meet with students once a week to discuss student progress and to provide encouragement, build self-esteem, and set future goals.
- Academic Coaches- who meet with students as needed to work on core subjects such as math, English, social studies, and science.
- Career Presenters- who come to school campuses to talk to groups of students about careers that interest them. Students will have the opportunity to discuss their questions with the presenter one-to-one following the presentation.
The provision of basic resources which are critical to students' health and wellness will empower them with the tools to succeed in and outside of the classroom. The long-term impact of a successful education is our goal and will be key for students to break the cycle of poverty and to reach their full potential in life.