The Duncan Banner
When you’re hungry, hungry as in you haven’t eaten in two days, there’s not much else you can think about except getting something into your stomach.
This is a situation that occurs with several children across the state and not only does it hinder their learning curve, but impacts the child’s health as well. The Oklahoma Regional Food Bank created its Food for Kids programs to provide food for those children on the weekends and during holidays.
The United Methodist Women have sponsored the Backpack for Kids program at the Marlow Elementary School since the 2009-10 school year. The Backpack program gives chronically hungry elementary school children a backpack filled with kid friendly food to help sustain them over weekends and holidays.
“The food comes in prepackaged sacks that go into the backpacks,” said Sue Horning, with UMW.
Through the combined efforts of UMW, Cumberland Presbyterian Women, and First Christian Women, the School Pantry Program for the Marlow Middle and High School campuses was established for the 2012-13 school year. This is similar to the elementary program, with a few differences.
“Just because children get older doesn’t mean they aren’t just as hungry or that the parent’s income gets better,” Horning said. “The food pantry is kind of more like a grocery store where they can go and select what’s good for them.”
There are children from each level in Marlow benefiting from these programs; a total of about 60. This weekend, the UMW are hosting the fourth annual garage sale to benefit this program. All proceeds benefit these programs for the next school year by going into an established account for Marlow schools at the Regional Food Bank. A $200 donation will feed one student for the entire school year.
The sale will be 7 a.m. to 1 p.m. Friday and Saturday at 107 N. 5th St., Marlow. Lenora Greffen, a local seamstress, also donated a quilt to be raffled off and ticket sales will also go toward the cause.
The raffle will be held at the conclusion of the sale on Saturday and you do not have to be present to win.
More than one-third, or 15,000, of the Regional Food Bank’s emergency food recipients on a weekly basis are children. Since there is a critical connection between childhood nutrition and cognitive and physical development, even nutritional deficiencies of a relatively short-term nature negatively impact a child’s health, behavior, and the ability to concentrate and perform complex tasks.
In addition, going without food can cause behavioral and psychological effects such as depression, aggression, anxiety, and poor social skills in children.