TROY — The Troy Rec is helping fill the hunger gap by providing free “Weekend Bags” for food insecure students in grades 6-12.
The Troy Rec Executive Director Kelly Snyder said the youth program began with weekend food bags for students grades 6-12 last March. Snyder said the idea came from a student volunteer who assisted the Troy United Church of Christ with its weekend backpack program. That program benefits 300 K-5 students through the school year only.
“One of our students that was helping pack said, ‘Oh, my sister gets one of these when she comes home every week,’” Snyder said. “It just hit me that we have sixth through twelfth graders that are also food insecure who don’t have that safety net. So we decided that they are here anyway, so we’ll be that safety net for them.”
Students can simply request a bag each Friday with no income requirements or registration.
“We do not require them to register or we don’t ask them any kind of income questions or guidelines. At this age, they know what their needs are. If they need it, they just come in and ask for a weekend bag,” Snyder said. “We want people to know that it’s here and it’s available.”
The Rec has student volunteers pack the bags each week which have 10-12 food items per bag.
Snyder said the weekend backpack program supplies ready-to-eat, simple meals and snacks for approximately 25 students per week during the school year. Snyder said The Rec continued the program through the summer for its students. She said the need fluctuates in the summer to about 10-15 bags per week and will ramp up when school begins next month.
“Even kids that don’t come to The Rec on a regular basis, can come in and get a bag,” Snyder said.
The Valley Church, which rents space from the organization, kicked-off the program with a successful food drive last spring. Snyder said the program also received a $500 donation from the Troy Kiwanis Club to purchase food items.
Snyder said The Rec is seeking food or monetary donations to continue to fuel the program. Items such as fruit cups, microwave meals like macaroni and cheese and ravioli or pasta options, fresh fruit, pop-top canned vegetable options, granola bars, Pop-Tarts or breakfast items and fruit bars, can be donated directly to the center.
Items may be dropped off at The Troy Rec, located at 11 N. Market St., Troy, from noon to 5 p.m. Monday-Friday. The Troy Rec is also a Summer Lunch provider with free lunch Monday-Friday from noon to 1 p.m. through Aug. 9. Lunch is available to any one 18 years and under. No registration is required.
For more information, visit www.troyrec.com.
Reach Melanie Yingst at firstname.lastname@example.org
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