Hunger has a Cure

Approximately 7,000 children in Pinellas County are hungry on the weekends. Hunger has a cure.

“Pack-A-Snack” is a community outreach and collaboration program of Pinellas Community Schools and Pinellas County area churches and nonprofit organizations.  The program is designed to help address the problem of chronic hunger among elementary age children in our public schools.  This has been estimated to be approximately 18% of all children are eligible for free lunch.

General Information

Program Goals

  • Working with selected Title I schools to identify those children on free or reduced lunch who meet the criteria of being chronically hungry or having food insecurity.
  • Providing  a nutritious group of snacks to eligible students who might not have adequate food over the weekends during the academic year.

Who is Eligible?

  • Any elementary child in a Title 1 school where teachers feel that they exhibit behaviors that may indicate chronic hunger or food insecurity.
  • Children may be referred to the program by school personnel, classroom teachers or by a child’s parent.

How Does One Sign Up?

  • The Coordinator for the Pack-A-Snack Program receives a referral form from the designated schools Family & Community Relations Liaison or other designated community contact.
  • Referrals to the program may be generated by any school personnel or through parental request.  Referrals may be made at any time during the school year.
  • The school liaison is responsible for approving all referrals and then contacts the child’s parent and explains the program and invites his/her participation.  This may be done either by sending a letter home to the parent or guardian with the child on school letterhead about the program and a Participation Form or by personal contact by the school liaison.
  • Prior to receiving his/her first Pack-A-Snack a child must have a signed Parent/Guardian participation form on file.

Who Supplies the Food?

The items in the Pack-A-Snack are paid for and provided by a local area church or nonprofit organization.

When are Pack-A-Snacks Distributed and by Whom?

  • Orders for individual Snacks are communicated to the Pack-A-Snack Project Coordinator on Monday of each week.  The number of packs needed is then relayed to the assigned church/partner that purchases, packs, prepares and delivers the Sacks to each school and the School Liaison by Friday morning or the last day of the academic week.
    It is the responsibility of the appointed School Liaison in consultation with their principal to determine how and when the Sacks will be distributed.
  • Any Pack-A-Snack not picked up by enrolled participants must be stored in a secure, dry place and may be distributed the next week as part of their order.
  • On the following Monday, the School Liaison reports to the Pack –A-Snack Program Coordinator the number of sacks on hand and the number needed for that week.
  • If there are preschool siblings in the home who are also in need of food enrichment, the School Liaison must also approve their enrollment in the program as well.

What types of items make up a Pack-A-Snack?

  • A nutritionist has reviewed all of the items in the weekly Sacks.  Items are individually wrapped and sealed at point of purchase.
  • No flyers, notes or promotional materials are permitted in the Sack. Except those that may be approved and placed by school personnel.
  • Each Sack contains child-friendly shelf stable food items for an average of two days (weekends) or enough for a holiday period.
  • Each Sack will contain a combination of 6-10 items:
    Fruit Cup, Apple Sauce Cup, Pudding Cup, Individual Beanie Weenies, Stew, Vienna Sausages, Raisins, Cereal Bar, Trail Mix, Cheese Crackers, Crackers, Peanut Butter, individual fruit juice, White/Chocolate Milk (no refrigeration needed), Cereal Bowl, or other items that may be approved as suitable.
  • Every effort is made to see that each week there are a different variety of items.
  • Each individual assigned community partner is responsible for seeing that a variety is maintained as much as possible.
    Items for each child will be placed in an individual tied plastic bag and the assigned church/community partner will deliver the number of Sacks requested to the school plus clearly marking any Sack that is noted for a child with allergies.
  • Each child will be given a nylon drawstring Pack-A-Snack Bag in which to carry his/her food home.