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Food DonationsHealthy Students – Healthy Saugus aims to feed hungry Saugus students

Press Release by the Rev. Martha Leahy

Saugus.wickedlocal.com

July 26, 2018

 

The Saugus United Parish Food Pantry in collaboration with the Saugus Faith Community, the Saugus School superintendent, and area businesses and organizations announce a new initiative called Healthy Students-Healthy Saugus, which aims to address food insecurity in the Saugus public school system.

 

In 2014 Feeding America published the Hunger in America Report. The report drew attention to the fact 15.8 million children nationwide live in food insecure households. As a community we recognize there are children and families in Saugus who could use our help.

 

To offset food insecure households, Healthy Students-Healthy Saugus will provide a weekend supply of nutritious food for each eligible child when school lunches and breakfasts are unavailable to them on weekends or school holidays during the school year. Take-home grocery bags will contain two breakfasts, two lunches, two snacks, one can of vegetables and one can of fruit. All food will be nonperishable and provided to children free of charge. If additional food is needed for extended family members, it will be provided. It is our hope these resources will support the health, behavior, and achievement of every student who participates. Parents will apply for the program by filling out a simple consent form.

 

The program will be run by the School Department’s current food service provider, Whitsons Food Service, and many wonderful volunteers who will be packing the food bags. Whitsons will deliver food and grocery bags to each volunteer site on Thursdays, where the bags will be packed, then picked up by Whitsons on Fridays and delivered to the schools for students to take home. The program will begin first at the elementary schools and, if the need arises, will be expanded to the upper grades. The school district will use the utmost discretion in identifying students and working with families to ensure the grocery bags make it home with minimal barriers.

 

The aim of Healthy Students – Healthy Saugus is to keep children healthy, thriving, and able to succeed in school.

 

Area businesses and organizations supporting this effort are Whitsons Food Service, Rotary Club of Saugus, Wheelabrator, and Saugus Public Schools. Packing sites are St. John’s Episcopal Church, Blessed Sacrament/St. Margaret’s Catholic Churches, Cliftondale Church of the Nazarene, First Congregational Church UCC, and First Baptist Church. A weekly schedule of which sites volunteers can go to will be published soon as well as the official start date sometime in September.

 

Thank you to Lindsey Wallin, owner of McDonald’s on Route 1 South in Saugus, for our first donation, in the generous amount of $1,000, and also to Brad and Adam York of York Ford in Saugus for their matching gift of $1,000.

 

Monetary donations of any size, large and small, are needed. Each one will help feed a hungry child. Please send checks made out to Saugus Clergy Association, with “Healthy Students – Healthy Saugus” in the memo line, c/o First Congregational Church UCC, 300 Central St., Saugus, MA 01906. Donations of food are also needed (see below).

 

A Healthy Students-Healthy Saugus public informational session will be held Wednesday, Aug. 29 at 7 p.m. at Belmonte Middle School. It will be led by Superintendent of Schools Dr. David DeRuosi Jr. and members of the working group. We hope this program succeeds in building a healthy network of caring and support for students and citizens of Saugus.

 

Food donations for Healthy Students – Healthy Saugus

Healthy students need healthy food. Organizations and individual citizens are encouraged to collect certain items and contribute them to the overall effort. Whitsons Food Service has compiled this list of nutritionally balanced foods. Items have been carefully chosen for their high vitamin and nutrient content, so we ask that donations come only from this list.

  • Proteins: canned tuna, chicken, and salmon; peanut butter, canned beans (black and pinto).
  • Vegetables: canned corn, peas, green beans, chopped tomatoes, mixed vegetables, fruit snacks or fruit leather.
  • Fruit: canned fruit, mixed fruit cups, applesauce, bottled juice, shelf stable juice boxes.
  • Carbohydrates: whole grain pasta, tomato sauce, individual low sugar, whole grain cereal (Cheerios), individual oatmeal packets, small boxes of whole grain rice, popcorn.
  • Other: jelly, granola bars, individual packages of whole grain graham crackers, pretzels, Goldfish crackers.
  • Canned meals: stews, soups, chili, macaroni and cheese.
  • Toiletries: toothpaste, toothbrushes, soap, shampoo, toilet paper, paper towels, deodorant.

For questions or to arrange pick up or drop off of donations, please contact Dennis Gould of the United Parish Food Pantry at 617-257-4847.