Community contributes to ease students’ weekend hunger pangs at Midvale Elementary
Dec 10, 2019 12:57PM
● By Julie Slama
Sunrise Engineering volunteer Rick Campagna shares a bag of food with a Midvale Elementary student. (Heidi Sanger/Midvale Elementary)
By Julie Slama | [email protected]
While many people appreciate the extra food donations during the holiday season, numerous Midvale Elementary families are grateful for the help they receive in feeding their children every week.
“There’s a variety of organizations that help our families out with getting the food they need,” Midvale Elementary community school facilitator Heidi Sanger said. “We are just so appreciative that the community comes together to support these kids so they can concentrate on their education instead of worrying where their next meal will come from.”
Each month, the Utah Food Bank delivers 20-pound bags of food to serve 100 families at Midvale Elementary, as they do to the other Canyons School District’s Title I elementary schools — East Midvale, Copperview and Sandy.
Sponsored by the AARP, about 10 AARP volunteers unload the Utah Food Bank truck and deliver one bag per household to Midvale Elementary students who could use the extra food, Sanger said.
“There are canned goods, peanut butter and fresh foods like cheese, hamburger, sausage, sour cream, yogurt, bread, fruit and vegetables,” she said.
This complements Five.12 Foundation, an organization that provides elementary school students with a weekend backpack full of food so they don’t go hungry all weekend. It’s a nonprofit foundation which a former Midvale parent connected the school with years ago and who now Sanger volunteers with in Alpine.
“There are volunteers who purchase the food and various groups who volunteer to pack food and assemble bags, which then are donated to school kids,” she said.
Of the nearly 1,400 bags that are delivered, Midvale Elementary receives about 100 of them to distribute to students, Sanger said.
In addition to that food, four volunteers from Sunrise Engineering will bring additional bags of food and deliver them the last day of the school week to students so that between Five.12 Foundation and Sunrise Engineering, about 125 Midvale Elementary students, who have been identified by the school and families, can receive the nutrition they need, she said.
The food provided weekly by Five.12 and Sunrise Engineering is non-perishable.
“They look at the nutrition and determine the number of calories they will need over the weekend as well as include items that are easy for a child to make themselves a meal,” Sanger said, adding that several parents work multiple jobs so preparing meals can be the responsibility of the oldest children, who also may take care of younger siblings.
These weekly supplements may include granola, oatmeal, shelf-stable milk, cereal, soup, canned spaghetti, macaroni and cheese, fruit cup, pudding and fruit juice.
During the holidays, several church and Boy and Girl Scout groups also make donations to the school’s pantry to help make the season brighter, she said.
“There’s always organizations that reach out,” she said. “I learned that there’s a lady who puts a jar on their desk at work. As people made donations, she saved it until the grocery store held its case lot sale. Then she pulled out the change and bought cases of food which she brought here to Midvale Elementary, right before we went on break to make sure kids didn’t go hungry. There’s a lot of ways to help and we appreciate everyone who contributes to helping our students.”