By Nikki Velarde, The Belton Journal
There are many children in our area that qualify for free or reduced priced breakfast at their school. For many, this is a vital part of that child’s food security and receiving a healthy meal. But that is only while they are in school, so what happens during their spring break?
The Helping Hands Ministry has risen to meet these needs. Before spring break, volunteers help package a weeks’ worth of breakfasts to be given to these children.
“Last year we served about 700 kids,” said Executive Director Rucker Preston. “We only had the program serving Junior High aged kids, so this year we expanded the age range to include elementary.”
This year, children between the ages of 2 to 18 are able to receive their sack of five breakfasts for the week that school is out. Rucker is preparing to serve 1,000 children in the area.
“We have 18,000 food items that go into 5,000 breakfast bags that then go into 1,000 sacks to feed 1,000 kids,” Rucker added. “There’s a lot of work to do.”
Friday, volunteers helped empty food from their packages and organized them to prepare for the assembly line of volunteers Saturday that quickly packaged and bagged the 5,000 meals.
Each meal is a healthy food choice low in sugar and includes oatmeal, apple sauce, string cheese, and raisins or a fruit snack.
Last year Helping Hands Ministry also expanded this program to serve summer breakfasts as well. The Summer Breakfast Ministry provides a healthy breakfast item to each child each week of the summer, beginning the second week of June.
The ministry expects to provide 60,000 breakfasts to children of Helping Hands Ministry throughout the summer. Families can choose items that include a half-dozen eggs, a box of healthy cereal, as well as other items like oatmeal, apple sauce, string cheese, and raisins.
In order to receive a breakfast snack during spring break, clients must come to Helping Hands for food the week before spring break begins. If parents have registered their children in Helping Hands database, their child is eligible to receive food. The same procedure occurs each week of the summer. Clients need only have their children’s names on file.
The Helping Hands Ministry of Belton seeks to share the Gospel of Christ Jesus while providing relief and resources to every family in need in the community.
In a state with 2 million children who live without food security, the Ministry’s aim is that no child in either Belton or Academy ISD will go hungry.
For more information of Helping Hands Ministry, Spring or Summer Breakfast, to register, or volunteer opportunities, please visit their website at helpinghandsbelton.org or call (254) 939-7355.