Lake City-based Hunger Intervention Program works to bring food to local families through its Healthy HIP Packs Program, free summer meals for kids, and by advocating for hungry families.
By Kate Murphy, HIP Executive Director
Back in April, I visited the John Rogers Elementary Penny Harvest Roundtable group to share information about our Healthy HIP Packs Program. This is a group of students from kindergarten to 5th grade. They meet at least once a week to decide what organizations to distribute the $1000 they’ve raised through their Penny Harvest this year. Valeri McGregor and Amy Ferguson, the teachers who oversee the program said this year they had close to 50 students apply to participate. It was hard to select from such a great group of applicants, and great they are.
I was so impressed by the questions the students asked, completely unprompted by either of the teachers. Do you partner with other organizations? How many kids did you serve this year? How does one volunteer with your program? What do you do for kids with food allergies? We talked about how HIP gets the money and food for its programs. We also talked about how students can sign up to participate. And, because many of the students are currently HIP volunteers at our monthly packing party, they were able to share with the group how much fun this volunteer activity is. One student asked what happens during the summer and another student who volunteered with us last summer was able to share what he did and how the summer meal program worked, with amazing detail!
After HIP’s visit, the group continued to meet with other area organizations and then decide how to donate their funds. The teachers cannot direct their decision in any way. The group seemed really excited about the HIP Packs Program and how it benefits students at their own school. So, I thought maybe HIP will have a shot. But, I heard the puppies at PAWS made a pretty compelling pitch too…
Fast forward to yesterday when HIP was awarded $500 from the John Rogers Penny Harvest Roundtable! The group prepared an amazing award ceremony where they described the Penny Harvest Program and the two recipient organizations, HIP and People for Puget Sound. They ended with some great questions for the entire school audience. How many of you will donate pennies next year to Penny Harvest? The room filled with energetic hands. How many of you will apply to be a part of Penny Harvest next year? More hands! What a great example of kids learning about philanthropy and how with just a penny you can make quite a difference.