BREVARD COUNTY — An act of community service brought friends and family together on Nov. 16 for an annual event that helped to feed hungry children in our county.
St. John the Evangelist Catholic Community hosted a special packing event in its Holy Cross Hall for The Children’s Hunger Project, a nonprofit organization which seeks to feed elementary school children on the free and reduced lunch program.
Each week during the school year, The Children’s Hunger Project provides nutritional meal packages for children to take home on the weekends, whereas these children would normally go without food until they returned to school on Monday.
Parishioners were ready for a second year of packing, and the assembly lines of volunteers ran smoother and more effectively. Lively music provided an energetic atmosphere, and in less than two hours, 500 volunteers packed 5,250 food packets.
“It is truly amazing to watch Brevard County come together to help our community,” said Keith Gee, executive director for The Children’s Hunger Project. “The packing at St. John was a perfect example of this - 500 people coming out to help pack food for kids that would otherwise go hungry on the weekends. I love Brevard County!”
The Children’s Hunger Project is currently serving more than 2,000 students in more than 40 schools in Brevard. It costs the nonprofit $150 per student to feed them during the school year.
Donations – whether monetary or food-wise – go a long way for this organization. According to The Children’s Hunger Project’s website, some elementary schools have more than 80% of its students on the free and reduced lunch program, and there are still more than 1,000 children the nonprofit wishes to serve.
Students take home items such as Chef Boyardee’s single serve ravioli and chicken with rice and vegetables, Kind breakfast bars, craisins, applesauce, fruit cups, chocolate milk, fruit and vegetable juice, among other items.
During the packing event, Julie Kulzer said, “It’s such a simple way to give back. The Children’s Hunger Project makes it so easy to help out, that young or old, anyone can pack a meal. I love knowing that in a matter of hours, I helped thousands of students.”
Ms. Kulzer served as a table supervisor, making sure those handing out packing items had enough at their stations and replenishing boxes of food as they quickly disappeared.
Volunteers spent their time packing items into Zip-locked bags, assembling items along the table at different stations, or boxing completed packages to be taken away to The Children’s Hunger Project’s headquarters.
The nonprofit is currently gearing up for its fourth annual “Health First Fight Child Hunger 5K Run/Walk,” which is scheduled to take place on Jan. 11, 2020 at Viera High School. The event will also benefit the Sharing Center of Central Brevard. Registration is open and available at $25 per individual, or $15 for youth under 12 years old.
For more information, visit www.thechildrenshungerproject.org.