April 9 was very interesting day for me. I started my day by going to Getchell High School and doing the Charger Chat to talk about the Food For Thought Backpack Program. It was a lot of fun. Boy, has high school changed since I was there.
At 2 p.m., I had a meeting with a principal at one of our middle schools to talk about the number of hungry and homeless kids at that school and to see where my program and the Food Bank could help. I took with me a few case of MREs (Meals Ready to Eat) so that if she had someone who was in great need she could hand these out.
When I met with her, we were looking it over to make sure that there would be no way a student could get hurt trying to prepare the food. She had a teachers assistant in the office and we asked him if he wanted to be a tester and he said “Yes!” So he sits down with us and he proceeds to tell me he is in 7th grade and he has seen these on TV. We didn’t help him unless he asked, but he didn’t. While the dinner was heating the principal was called out of the room. When it was just the two of us he then proceeded to tell me he was a traveler. “A what?” I asked. He was homeless. He told me he stays at friends every now and then but didn’t want to outstay his welcome, so he sleeps in a tent and has made arrangements for shower privileges. This broke my heart and I couldn’t believe I was actually hearing this. Then the principal came back in and we opened up the spaghetti and he tried it. He liked it and proceeded to eat it. Then he made a comment about wishing he saved it for later. That broke my heart again. He was getting another one to take home with him! He then thanked me and went back to do his school work.
After he left, the principal and I spoke about how I could get the Food For Thought Backpack Program started there. I asked how many homeless and hungry students they had there, and she said she knew of up to 40 students. My heart was breaking again so I left with a very saddened heart and tears in my eyes.
I went back to the Food Bank and once Dell and JoAnn saw me they knew by the hurt look on my face, that it was one of those meetings, where you wish you can just help everyone but you know you can’t. So I told them what I just told you and we will come up with a plan to help all the hungry students in our community even if it just baby steps at a time.
If you would like to make a donation or sponsor a student, please call me. This has to end. We can’t have our children go through this and please don’t get negative and think things like “where are the parents?” because we don’t know the situation at home. No child should suffer in any form whether from abuse or hunger. So, please if you would like to help, call me at 360-658-1054.
Amy Howell lives in Marysville.