LAKEWOOD, Colo. (CBS4) – Thousands of Jefferson County children went home from school Friday afternoon to homes with empty pantries, and one organization is working to relieve the burden for some of those kids.
JeffCo Eats is a local food pantry that donates food to low-income families at Title I schools, Section 8 apartments, head start programs, recreation centers, and apartments. On Friday, the group sent kids home with bags of food for the summer at an event at Molholm Elementary in Lakewood.
Barbara Moore founded JeffCo Eats, and said she got to work after seeing kids in need.
“I kept hearing, in Lakewood in particular, kids didn’t have weekend food,” Moore said. “There’s 9500 kids in Lakewood on free and reduced lunch, plus their families, so that’s like 20,000 people that we know need food.”
Moore works closely with families and parent liaisons at low-income Title I schools to deliver bags of food weekly. With school ending, the weekly food source will come to a temporary stop. Today’s event was aimed at giving families food for the summer.
“When Molholm’s parent liaison got notes from the kids after working here for 24 years, every note said ‘thank you for Thursdays, when I get my food,'” Moore said. “It’s so profound, they’re so quiet about their suffering, but they’re working poor.”
At today’s event, every family got a bag of free food for the summer, and kids got to take home a book from the school’s library for free.
“It’s a really great opportunity for students to have books they can take home,” one Molholm teacher said. “For many of the students, this may be the only book they will have access to over the summer.”
The impact a free bag of food, even for the summer, can make is huge on a low-income family. 95% of students at Molholm Elementary are on free and reduced lunch, and 20% of the population identifies as homeless.
If you’d like to donate food to JeffCo Eats, please visit their website.