Volunteers are crucial at every stage of a Healthy HIP Pack’s life, especially as our program expands to meet a greater need. Volunteers organize food drives, repackage bulk foods into kid-sized portions, fill packs to the order of the weekly menu, and finalize packs with fresh fruit just before delivery. In this newsletter we focus our spotlight on yet another group of volunteers, who pick up the finished packs and deliver them to their corresponding school every Friday for distribution to awaiting children. Our delivery crew is Heidi Thomassen (John Rodgers Elementary), Christel Peterson (Viewlands Elementary), and Ann Hilman (Olympic Hills Elementary).
What attracted you to volunteer your time (and gas) to HIP specifically?
Heidi: After spending a couple of years getting to know some of our homeless community in Lake City and spending time cooking alongside them I was asked to join HIP. Nutrition is a huge factor amongst the homeless so we had a lot of discussion surrounding this topic. I feel strongly that we need to start with kids and teach them about nutrition early in their lives. Very important to me!
Ann: Our school (Olympic Hills Elementary) has a large number of students who qualify for free or reduced lunches. And I am aware that many of them do not get to eat much at home. So when I learned that the HIP program provides food for these kids to eat over the weekends, I was compelled to volunteer. Considering the positive impact on our kids, a few minutes is a small price to pay.
What changes have you seen, or hope to see in your school now that students are receiving HIP Packs?
Christel: HIP Packs are bringing smiles to faces at Viewlands… “wow, fresh fruit each week” and “I love my soup”. I hope to see students benefit significantly from this program, for their health, well-being and academic achievement.
Heidi: Would love to see the school “own” it themselves, but realize this is a huge undertaking. I’ve noticed how the teachers /staff are incredibly welcoming to the idea and believe this is helpful. It really gives the school a sense of community and helping each other.
What was your favorite after school snack when you were in grade school?
Ann: Cheese, in any form. With crackers, on pasta, with fruit, melted over vegetables, in chunks, slices, shredded, etc.
Christel: When I was in grade school, my favorite after school snack, was fresh baked chocolate chip cookies
Heidi: My favorite afterschool snack was probably something my mom would have baked which included things like plum tart, chocolate chip cookies, poppyseed pastry. A lot of German-type pastries! And yes…DingDongs!