York’s Pride Pack program is desperately in need of financial help

YORK – York’s Pride Pack program, which provides food to be sent home on weekends for kids who qualify for free or reduced lunches, is in desperate need of financial help by way of monetary donations.

Cyndi Atchison, one of the current organizers of the program which is run by volunteers for kids in the York Public School District, says resources are getting low and that’s particularly a problem as food costs continue to go up.

The Pride Pack program has been in place at York Elementary for 12 years, Atchison says.

“It’s a program which sends food home on the weekends to those who qualify for free or reduced lunches,” she explains. “Currently, we are serving 66 families, but the school has asked if we could increase that number. It is completely run by volunteers – from the ordering, hauling and stocking the shelves, to packing the individual bags each week.”

And it’s funded by private donations.

Kids are given backpacks of food on Fridays to help them get through the weekends, until they can come back to school where they will get regular meals through the school week.

She also noted fifth graders help on Fridays in the packing of the bags.

There were boxes packed for Thanksgiving and the same will happen for Christmas.

During the summer, boxes hold six weeks of non-perishable items. These are crucial for feeding some children – again, who belong to families who qualify for reduced or free lunches during the school year.

“The cost per month, per child, is between $65 and $80,” Atchison said. “And that cost has grown with the increase of food costs. Our resources are getting low to purchase the food needed for the kids.”

The food is ordered from Dollar Fresh, she said, and she noted the boxes they use for the holidays were donated by Kroy Industries.

“In order for us to give the same items to every student, we are asking for monetary donations instead of food, which makes it much easier and fair,” Atchison said.

All donations go directly to the purchase of food for the children, she said.

With the spirit of the holidays, with many ways to contribute to those in need, this one is especially imperative because it is a program which many children rely on year-round. For some kids, those backpacks might contain the only food they see between Friday and Monday – week in and week out.

Organizers are asking for everyone to consider donations for this very important program. Atchison said donations can be sent to Pride Pack at 400 South Delaware Avenue, York, NE 68467.

“The need is compounded at this time because while food costs rise for families, so do the costs for the program, so it is a double-edged sword,” Atchison said. “Gracious donors help us keep this program viable, because it is so needed.”

If anyone has questions about how to help, call 402-366-6106. Sending a check to that address could make a huge difference in the life of a child.

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