The number of hungry families and individuals in Northern Virginia is often overlooked because of the affluent reputation of this area. More than 200,000 people are at risk of hunger in Northern Virginia, including 1 in 6 children under the age of 18.
There are many simple ways for kids, even preschoolers, to help fight childhood hunger in our area. One of my favorite ways is hosting a Power Pack Playdate to benefit the organization Food for Others.
The Power Packs are gallon sized Ziploc bags that go home with local hungry children to provide meals and nourishment over the week. They can be dropped off directly at the Food for Others warehouse in Fairfax.
Each Power Pack includes:
• 2 breakfast items
• 2 lunch items
• 2 dinner items
• 2 snacks
• 2 drinks
Since children are carrying the food home, it is important to keep the weight of the items down, and Food For Others provides a document with suggested kid-friendly foods.
“Our Power Pack Program (P3) provides weekend backpack food for children who too often, going home to low-income families, were facing uncertainty about where food would come from until the next school meal on Monday. Educators and counselors report that kids we’ve been feeding with healthy meals they can count on over the weekend are coming to school more ready to learn and with fewer behavioral issues. It is imperative that we work together as a community to ensure that our children are able to eat regular healthy meals,” said Food for Others Executive Director Roxanne Rice.
In the past, I hosted a Power Pack Party with my crew and their friends at our local library, but it can easily be done at home too. We each brought food to donate, set everything up on a table and organized the items by breakfast, lunch, dinner, snacks, and drinks. Next, we supervised as the kids helped stuff the bags.
All in all, we were pleased with the outcome. The biggest challenge was making sure there were enough dinner and lunch items. We had so many left over breakfasts, snacks, and drinks. My friends and I have decided to do this once a month and will take turns being the drop-off person. If you and your friends are interested in hosting a Power Pack Party, check out the links below for more information. It also makes a great activity for scouts and after school groups.
Learn more about the Food for Others Power Pack Program by reading this document here.
Food for Others
2938 Prosperity Avenue
Fairfax, VA 22031
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