The end of the 2018-19 school year is approaching and many students are preparing to enjoy summer break. Unfortunately, for other students summer break may not be as exciting. Especially when you have to worry about the impact of a food insecure household.
The Family Mentor Foundation hopes to make significant changes throughout the city. The foundation provides food for kids who are unable to receive basic meals on a regular basis.
“As a former teacher, I had kids in my classroom who were not getting adequate nutrition,” said Kari Vernon, founder and executive director for the Family Mentor Foundation. “And, unless they are vulnerable enough to tell you what’s really going on, you would just assume they are just a bad kid.”
“Each one of them has their own unique story,” Vernon said. “Typically, for whatever reason, these are the kids who qualify for free and reduced lunch. They are dependent upon the school during the week to get their breakfast and their lunch. And then on the weekend, they are not able to get the nutrition or the food that they typically need.”
The organization created “Buddy Boxes” and delivers them to 18 schools across central Ohio.
“A buddy box contains two breakfasts, two lunches and two snacks that a kid as young as kindergarten can feed themselves over the weekend,” Vernon said.
Weinland Park Elementary School is one of the schools where students receive boxes.
“We have a high number of students who live in poverty and do have food insecurity. So, this program has helped us to be able to provide meals for our students during the weekends and during holiday breaks,” said Dr. Porsha Robinson-Ervin, principal at the school.
This summer, the Family Mentor Foundation will also provide Buddy Boxes to recreation centers and food pantries across town.
“During the summer, in my opinion, it’s even more critical than ever because that’s when the kids are outside and they are playing and they physically more active,” Vernon said.
If you would like to donate to the Family Mentor Foundation, or know a child who would benefit from their services, click here.