The Kansas Food Bank has given food backpacks to 6,740 students or their siblings as of mid-February, officials there said.
In the previous months, the numbers were 6,656, 6,352 and 6,565. The record is 7,158 set last year, said Larry Gunkel, who runs the program for the Food Bank.
Of those handed food this month, 1,380 students or their siblings were from Wichita, a few less than the 1,392 children served in January.
The Food Bank serves 58 Kansas counties, and 398 schools. They give out backpacks of food to ensure that children have something to eat on weekends. The Food Bank, with the help of donors and volunteers, created the program in 2004 after learning that many children didn’t have much to eat except for what they receive during the week at school.
In his monthly reports, Gunkel includes comments he solicits from the educators from Wichita and around the state who help the Food Bank identify and help chronically ill children. The report this month included this note, from an educator in Cooper Elementary School in Derby:
“This food has made a huge impact in the life of a 3rd grade student. He is very chronically hungry. He told me that his family doesn't know what dinner is. I think he only gets to eat nutritious food when he eats at school.”