food for thought: HELP END HUNGER IN IRVING ISD

A student who is hungry or who is worried about whether or not they will be able to eat tonight is a student who will struggle to learn.  More than 75% of the Irving ISD population face food insecurity on a daily or frequent basis. The good news? Something can be done about it and people want to help. Donors and ISF volunteers provide more than 1,600 weekly food bags to IISD students. With your help, we’ll be able to sustain and grow this vital initiative together.

how it started

It all stared when Travis Middle School  counselor Vanessa Vega voiced concern for a student who was struggling with schoolwork and behavior in class. He wasn’t where he needed to be with his studies and he’d lost a significant amount of weight. Turns out, he did not have enough to eat when he wasn’t at school. While the mission of Irving Schools Foundation is planted in educational opportunities, you can’t learn if you are hungry. It did not take long for ISF supporters to decide we’re not having it, and counselors began quietly counting how many at their schools needed help with food for the weekends. Bowie Middle School stepped up and offered a classroom. The walls were lined with shelves purchased by donors, and small pantry bins were brought in. Donated drawstring bags were gathered and we started figuring out where and how to get food on short notice. That last part was half action movie, half  mystery thriller.

A group of volunteers showed up January 18, 2019 for the first build, filling more than 85 bags  and distributing to counselors at seven campuses. By the next week, the number of bags and campuses had doubled. The school year ended with Travis Middle School having a donated storage room, new volunteers joining FFT, and more than 800 students being helped with their food insecurity.

And that boy from the beginning, the one who was getting in trouble and not doing well academically? He ended the schoolyear with no issues beyond a mild scolding for laughing too loudly and cutting up with his classmates in the hallway.

how it's going (and how you can help)

Today, we are helping feed more than 1,700 students in IISD each week. A $7 donation will feed a student for an entire weekend.

Opportunities to support:

  • Host a food drive
  • Build food bags at the ISF Warehouse
  • Serve on the FFT committee
  • Make a financial contribution to purchase food
  • Sponsor the plastic bags in which weekly food is distributed

IN PICTURES: FOOD FOR THOUGHT THROUGH THE YEARS

How Food for Thought Works

During the school year, Irving Schools Foundation provides 1,400 food bags each week to 35 Irving campuses, which in turn distribute the food bags to students who have been identified as at-risk for food insecurity, or who have asked for help.

Each food bag contains shelf-stable food items that can be used to prepare 2 meals for a family of 4 for $7.

Examples for food currently: chili, soup, pasta, mac n cheese, rice, canned fruits and vegetables, canned beans, canned tomatoes, canned chicken and tuna, ramen.

All food bags are assembled by Irving School Foundation volunteers, using donated food items or items purchased with cash donations earmarked for Food For Thought.

Donation Guidelines:

$5

Provide 7 meals for 1 student

$50

Provide 70 meals for 10 students

$100

Provide 100 meals for 20 students

$700

Provide 700 meals for 100 students

how to help

There are three ways you can support Food For Thought:
1
You can volunteer to help assemble food bags or donate shelf-stable food items.
2
Your organization can host a food drive, host an off-site “bag build”, volunteer as a group to assemble bags at an Irving ISD campus, or adopt a school for ongoing Food for Thought support.
3

Don’t have time to shop, or not in a position to volunteer? You can still help! Just make a quick online contribution in support of Food for Thought—we’ll use your gift to purchase nutritious food items for students at risk for hunger.

how to get help

If your family is experiencing food insecurity, please talk to your campus counselor to learn more about available resources within Irving ISD.
To find out more about volunteer opportunities for Food for Thought, or to sponsor a food drive or bag build for your organization/business:
Contact  [email protected]  or call  972.600.5018
Irving community resources you may find helpful include:

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