Children in Planeview are going hungry over the winter break because school is not in session, so a local church is stepping in to help ends meet.
Approximately 98 percent of the students at Colvin Elementary in south Wichita qualify for free or reduced lunches, and eat breakfast and lunch at the school daily. Because students do not eat at school over break, families stress about where the food will come from.
The food boxes “really fill the gap between being in school and the break,” Colvin caseworker Abby Barden said. “Having the church involved brings the community together. Parents know they can count on them in times of need.”
This holiday season marks the sixth year Colvin and Crossroad Fellowship Bible Church have worked together. Their goal is to help Planeview families eat wholesome food over the holidays.
“There are an awful lot of kids that, due to low income and poverty levels, their Christmas break is not the same,” Crossroad pastor Brad Cooper said. “It’s an opportunity to make a difference in the community.”
This year, Crossroad packaged 350 boxes for Colvin, though churchgoers donated enough money to pack 450 boxes. Cooper said the extra money was used to stuff the 350 boxes with more food like rice, beans, macaroni and cheese, peanut butter, pasta and flour.
Colvin regularly provides students with food, and as a result, teachers say students do not want to go home at the end of the day. Second-grade teacher Tara Hall, who recently received a USD 259 Distinguished Teacher of the Year award, is a favorite of students in and out of class, judging from the number of hugs she receives walking down the hallway.
“We teach and we nourish; they go together,” Hall said. “After all, who wants to learn on an empty stomach?”
On Fridays during the school year, students can receive packages filled with snack foods to tide them over for the weekend. Now that the holidays are near, Crossroad’s boxes will fill that void.
Colvin principal Karen Whittle said that she is grateful for all the help the community has given Colvin.
“Anytime the community can work together with the schools, really powerful things can happen for the kids,” Whittle said.
Whittle said that she hopes the Colvin children will be able to pay this kindness forward in the future.
“My hope is that, when children see how much people in the community care about them, that they will come back and donate one day when they are able,” Whittle said.