Snack sacks provide for at-risk children

Published 1:25 pm Thursday, September 22, 2016


First United Methodist Church in Clanton continues its Snack Sacks ministry this year, benefitting 30 at-risk children during the 2016-2017 school year.

According to Lynn Best, office manager at FUMC, the church has been distributing snacks for six years now. The program started with ten children and has since grown to support 30 students from Clanton Elementary.

“We started doing this because one of our former pastors…his wife was a schoolteacher, and we realized that food insecurity is the greatest need for kids,” said Best. “They’re not succeeding in school because they’re coming into school hungry.”

According to the Food Research and Action Center, Alabama ranked fourth in food insecurity, having 17.6% of the population struggling to feed every member of the household.

The school counselor has identified the students to be served by the program as among those who are at-risk for not having food over the weekend. The church will collect the items or buy them at local stores with donated funds, package them and send them to the school. They send two proteins, two breakfasts, two fruits, two snacks and two juices.

All the snacks are easy to make products like instant soup and Easy Mac. Teachers discreetly put them in the selected students’ backpacks at the end of the day on Friday so the children will have easy meals over the weekend. One of the goals of the program is that the other children remain unaware of who is getting the meals, so no jealousy or strife arises.

The church does not put anything in the bags promoting themselves. According to Best, the program is about showing love, with no strings attached.

“It’s a way to help those who can’t help themselves,” said Best. “To let them know that we love them … and there is hope.”

Best said eventually the church would like for every school in the county to have a program like this. She said FUMC wants to partner with more churches and clubs to organize programs for all the county schools.