By Amanda Rogers
Common Ground’s Feed the Kids for Summer is revving up for 12 weeks of packing and bagging food for thousands of hungry youngsters, starting Wednesday.
The program, which started in 2004, provides breakfasts, lunches and snacks for seven days for close to 900 children each week throughout the summer.
“Mansfield ISD counselors and nurses came to Common Ground and said ‘Our kids on free and reduced lunches do not have access to food over the summer. They do not come back to school ready to learn,’” said Suzy Herrmann, co-chair of Feed the Kids for Summer.
Common Ground, a network of churches and service groups, has been working to provide Mansfield youngsters with Christmas presents since 1999 so branching out into food seemed like a logical next step.
Volunteers unload and stage the food at 10 a.m. each Wednesday, then another crew arrives to pack the bags at 6 p.m. The bags are distributed to eight food pantries in the Mansfield area, where youngsters can pick up the bag of ready-to-eat foods or ones that only require a microwave to heat up since some of the kids may be at home alone while their parents work.
Feed the Kids will hand out close to 10,000 bags of food this summer, composed of donated food or food paid for with donations from local churches, service groups and individuals, at a cost of $100,000, Herrmann said.
And since 2012, youngsters have been able to pick up and keep a book along with their bag of food, thanks to donations from Half Price Books.
“We started the literacy program since kids that don’t have access to nutritious food don’t have access to books,” Herrmann said. “The counselors said their reading levels have maintained or improved. They come back to school with their tummies full and ready to learn. It has made an impact.”
For more information or to donate or volunteer, go to commongroundmansfield.org.
Mansfield, Texas, is a booming city, nestled between Fort Worth and Dallas, but with a personality all its own. The city’s 76,247 citizens enjoy an award-winning school district, vibrant economy, historic downtown, prize-winning park system and community focus spread across 37 square miles. The Mansfield Record is dedicated to reporting city and school news, community happenings, police and fire news, business, food and restaurants, parks and recreation, library, historical archives and special events. The city’s only online newspaper launched in September 2020 and will offer introductory advertising rates for the first three months at three different rates.