On Feb. 22, more than 50 volunteers met in the Culinary Cafeteria at Lakeside High School to prepare about 10,800 meals that will be distributed to selected students who return to school on Mondays hungry as a result of not eating over the weekend.
A pilot program is being started by the Rotary Club of Lake Elsinore, Lake Elsinore Unified School District, H.O.P.E. (Helping Our People in Elsinore) and Planet Youth to send home food in backpacks over the next 12 Fridays with 50 students in need at one of the local elementary schools.
The program is called Backpacks for Kids. The program is being funded by Rotary Club of Lake Elsinore along with a grant obtained from Rotary International, generous donations from the H.O.P.E. program, and volunteer assistance from Planet Youth.
The backpacks will be filled with a nutritionally balanced rice casserole created by chefs at the Kids Against Hunger program ( www.KidsAgainstHunger.org). Each prepared packet will provide a meal for up to six individuals. The backpacks will also be filled with food products from H.O.P.E., which will include cereal, protein drinks, string cheese, and many other small items.
“We are excited to get the program started and see these students thrive at school, and not defeated by hunger,” said Warren Stephenson, coordinator for the program and member of the Rotary Club of Lake Elsinore.
The program began on Friday, March 2nd and will continue for the next 12 weeks until the end of the school term. –Bonnie Woodrome