Saturday, July 20, 2013
Mesquite tackles child hunger crisis with Lunch Buddies program
Nearly one in four Texas children live in "food insecure" homes.
MESQUITE How much is a quarter? Or, more importantly, how much can a quarter buy?
According to feedingamerica.org, more than a quarter of Texas children can be classified as "food insecure." The statistic holds true close to home as well, said Alex Priakos, Mesquite Social Services executive director.
"We don't think about people being hungry, but one out of every four children in Dallas County lives in a food-insecure home," Priakos said.
Mesquite Social Services' Lunch Buddies program, launched in April, invites individuals to help change those numbers by donating their lunch money -- a few quarters -- one day a month to buy a child's lunch at Mesquite Social Services.
"The funds are used to buy kid-friendly foods to enable kids to eat without any preparation needed," Priakos wrote in an email. "The lunches include fruits (fresh and fruit cups), juices, combination of snacks (chips, crackers, cookies, fruit roll ups, fruit snacks), Jell-O and pudding, Lunchables, peanut butter and jelly, microwave lunch foods (spaghetti Os), [milk], cereal, Pop-Tarts, oatmeals, etc., are items moms can obtain while shopping."
Other consistently sought-after items for replenishing MSS food pantry's shelves include canned meats, pastas, fruits, chili and stews, helper meals, spaghetti, spaghetti sauce, flour, sugar, dry and evaporated milk, hamburger meat, chicken, pork, eggs, and baby food, formula, and cereal.
And, always needed at the food pantry is that No. 1 kids' staple: "We could never get enough peanut butter and jelly. Never. I mean, if we got nothing but peanut butter and jelly, we would be the happiest people on the face of the earth," Priakos said. "You know: It's so kid-friendly."
Priakos wrote that an estimated 1,000 Lunch Buddy meals will go out this summer.
There are two easy ways to donate: through PayPal at https://mesquitesocialservices.org/Donate_W6BZ.html or by sending a check to Mesquite Social Services Inc., 1035 Military Parkway, Mesquite, TX 75149. Indicate on the check it's for a Lunch Buddy.
Mesquite Social Services serves clients in Mesquite, Balch Springs, Seagoville, and Sunnyvale. For information on Lunch Buddies and other programs, including General Education Development-prep workshops, crisis financial help, and SNAP and Medicaid application assistance, visit mesquitesocialservices.org.
Pegasus News Content partner - Star Local News
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