In schools where most or all of the students qualify for free lunch and breakfast programs, kids are guaranteed to have at least two nutritious meals each weekday.
But what about over the weekend?
Years ago, after hearing from teachers who had noticed their students were going hungry over the weekend, Running Strong started our Smart Sacks program with schools on two reservations: the Cheyenne River Sioux Indian Reservation and the Menominee Indian Reservation.
The program provides Native youth with sacks of food filled with groceries to take home at the end of the school week so that they, and their siblings and other family members, will not go hungry on over the weekend.
It has made a big difference. In fact, after teachers at the Menominee Indian School District told us about the improvement they saw in their students’ wellness, we expanded the program to cover older kids in the school as well.
Expanding to help more kids
On Pine Ridge, we recently heard from Oyate Teca Executive Director Rose Fraser, who told us that she has been hearing from children at her youth center, telling her that they did not have a single meal over the entire weekend.
Upon learning about this, Running Strong just expanded the Smart Sacks program to Oyate Teca which will be distributing sacks of food to 40 children every Friday for the next nine weeks – a total of 360 bags.
That means that now, with your help, we’re making sure over 540 kids have food to eat every weekend!