(WTNH) — Call them care packages with a purpose. Every Friday hundreds of bags of food are delivered to students in New Haven who might otherwise not have food to eat over the weekend.
“We put a cereal and a milk. We put a pasta. It might vary but everything is a pop top. You know, the kids can just open them up themselves,” said Deborah Epstein, co-founder of Food 4 Kids.
Food 4 Kids is is one of several programs offered through the Jewish Family Services of Greater New Haven. They work entirely on donations and with volunteers. Each week they put together about 250 bags.
“These children are getting subsidized breakfast and lunch which is great but that’s five days a week and they go home on the weekend and there really isn’t enough food for them. They go to bed hungry and it’s just heartbreaking,” said Linda Caplan, a volunteer with Food 4 Kids.
Each bag costs about $5 to make making the cost per child about $200 a year. The bags contain items that are nut free and kid friendly.
So far the program is offered in 3 area schools including the Dr. Reginald Mayo Early Learning School where 112 students receive the bags. Social worker Hyclis Williams says kids who aren’t hungry are more alert and perform better both in and out of the classroom.
“Hungry children cannot learn. That’s a for sure thing. If we’re not feeding our families, feeding our children, their brain is not gonna develop proper,” said Williams.
According to the Connecticut Food Bank there are about 38,000 kids in New Haven County that don’t get enough to eat. Organizers with Food 4 Kids hope to raise more funds to expand the program and reach more of them.
“When they looked back as to how many kids were coming in on Fridays who get the bags versus who don’t get the bags, it’s amazing. Nobody wants to miss their bags,” said Caplan.
For information on how to get involved or donate to Food 4 Kids, click here.