Weekend Food Program takes off

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More than 125 MCPASD elementary students are expected to benefit this school year from the Weekend Food Program, which offers nutritious snacks and meals for elementary children over  the weekend.  

This effort is being spearheaded by five local churches, Middleton Outreach Ministry (MOM) and District social workers.

The program was implemented last year at Elm Lawn and Sauk Trail, but the goal was to expand it to all six elementary schools in 2017-18, Director of Communications Perry Hibner said. Park and Northside were added to the program when it started for the school year in mid-October. The program began at Sunset Ridge in mid-November and West Middleton is expected to join in early January, Hibner said.

“This is a vital program for many of our students,’’ Hibner said. “We are so grateful that our partners have come together to make this a reality at every elementary school.’’

Representatives from the churches and MOM, along with school social workers, have met multiple times this fall to coordinate efforts. Food safety, the weight of each bag being sent home and the types of items included have been among the items discussed, Hibner said.

The churches – St. Luke’s, St. Bernard’s, St. Martin’s, United Church of Christ and West Middleton – have collected funds to help pay for students to receive food for approximately 30 weekends throughout the school year. The average price of food being sent home each week is about $5 per student, although a represenative indicated that cost could drop to as low as $3 per student. 

In addition, an anonymous donor contacted the Education Foundation and is providing $15,000 to purchase food through Second Harvest provided all of the elementary schools were added to the program, Hibner said.

“The generosity of our community is greatly appreciated,’’ Hibner said, noting as the number of students in the program increases the annual costs could be $30,000 or more. “We would like to expand the program to our 4K and other schools at some point but that is contingent on finding more funding to make that happen.’’

If you are interested in contributing, please send a check made out to the MCPASD Education Foundation to the District Services Center, 7106 South Ave., Middleton. Please include Weekend Food Program in the memo line. You can also contribute on the Foundation website. Please note that your contribution is for the Weekend Food Program in the text box through PayPal.

The churches are getting much of the food from Second Harvest Foodbank of Wisconsin.

The program is voluntary, free of charge and offered to families who believe they would benefit from extra food being sent home.

MOM services are also available to the families.

Families who are interested in learning more about eligibility for the program should contact the social worker at their child’s elementary school.