IRVING (CBSDFW.COM) – The doors to two “food markets” are now open inside Irving schools. The idea: to make sure every child in the district has enough food at home, and not just on school days.
As the saying goes, kids who can’t eat, can’t learn. That’s where the idea came from for Food for Thought, a plan to stop hunger in the district from inside the walls of schools.
“We have kids that eat here for breakfast, and of course they get lunch, and then we have some that stay at the after-school program just to get food,” says Kay Branch, Bowie Middle School Counselor. “We think when they go home on the weekends, they don’t have food to eat.”
Thus the Irving Schools Foundation, along with community businesses and organizations, opened up two food pantries inside schools which will feed the entire district – literally.
“There are over 3,000 kids that are involved in these programs in Irving ISD, to us, that was a very eye-opening moment,” says Tara Barnett of On The Border Mexican Grill and Cantina, which is partnering with Food for Thought.
Every student who needs it gets a bag from the pantry – for the weekend and over school breaks – for as long as necessary.
“They get Friday dinner, Saturday, Sunday breakfast, lunch and dinner,” says Branch. “If we have a whole family that needs it, we’ve got some food that was given to us in bulk, like big boxes of cereal.
Students and volunteers will pack and load the bags, which organizers say carry even more than food.
“What we’ve learned is it’s giving them hope, and it’s letting them know that we’ve got your back, we’re going to make sure you’re fed. We’re going to make sure you’re taken care of,” says Crystal Scanio, President/CEO of Irving Schools Foundation. “Once you give them hope, you can’t take it away.”
The two food markets are at Bowie Middle School and Travis Middle School. Organizers say they hope to eventually have one in every school in the district. They’re also encouraging members of the community to volunteer or to donate food.