POWER PACKS: Hunger & the Children in Our Community
The Power Pack program comes from the Food for Others campaign, a non-profit food bank helping Northern Virginians who do not have adequate food supplies. Thirty percent of residents living in poverty are children. Power Packs provide a bag of non-perishable food to elementary school-aged children over the weekend. For some children, this will be the only food they have until they return to school on Mondays.
A member of our church, Donni Clifton, learned of this program and began participating in January 2015 by assembling packs each month and taking them to a warehouse for distribution at participating elementary schools. While this was a great way to get involved in this organization, the desire from the beginning has been to get connected to a specific school we could work with.
In April of 2016, the Lord provided such a school; we began a relationship with Manassas Park Elementary & Cougar Elementary in Manassas Park. Both schools are part of one campus of 1700 children, grades K-5 with 65% of their students on free and/or reduced lunches. They could use a minimum of 50 power packs each week!
The following stories were shared by Manassas Park Elementary Staff about children living with hunger and poverty in the community:
A 3rd grade female student lives with her mom and 2 younger siblings. Her mom works outside the home at night part-time and takes care of neighborhood children part-time. This sweet girl is quiet and you wouldn’t suspect her to be hungry, but when working with her one-on-one, she shares that she often has to ‘cook’ for herself and her 2 siblings in the evening; usually cereal or crackers. She is likely a weekly recipient for the program this fall and greatly appreciated the bag she received at the end of the school year.
A young man in 4th grade has been in and out of several homes. He has 3 siblings and lives with 3 other children (7 in all), as well as his mom and uncle. They often don’t have electricity. This sweet boy works very hard and regularly goes home with additional pieces of fruit and secret donations from his teachers. He was thrilled to receive some additional food from the school nurse.
These stories are heart-breaking and encouraging at the same time. There is a real need in our own community, a need that we feel God has equipped us to help meet. Let’s join together, support the heart Donni has for this outreach, and be a vehicle of change for these precious lives! This is a picture of the fruits of our efforts.
Women’s Ministry hosts an ongoing collection for Power Packs.
You can click over to our Power Packs page and find specific information on what items are permissible and needed to complete a pack for one child. Printed materials are available in the Bookstore with all the donation information on them. Some donors choose to create full packs to donate while others donate a large quantity of one item. Either option is a great help and much appreciated! Drop your donations off in our basket situated in the windowsill of the Vestibule (entrance of the church).