Today’s post comes from Emily Kobza, our Director of Development & Business Engagement. This is now her third post (and second unsolicited) for Ask Me About My 12,000 Kids so I have asked her to relinquish her “guest” blogger title and officially be a blogger for us. Cross your fingers!
When I was growing up, one of the major TV networks used to advertise its Friday night line-up as “TGIF” – Thank Goodness It’s Friday! I used to look forward to that special night all week long. Not only did I get to watch my favorite shows, but Friday also meant I got to stay up a little later, sleep in a little longer the next morning, and I had a whole glorious weekend to read books or play outside.
As an adult, that feeling hasn’t totally gone away. I love what I do during the week, but I still look forward to Fridays, although it’s not because I get to watch a new episode of Family Matters! Even though we’re adults, we still measure the week’s progress towards the weekend. It’s gotten to the point where Wednesday is a big day because we’re halfway to Friday! And while we might have errands to run, kids to take to friends’ houses, or bills to pay, the weekends still bring all of us a little refreshment before returning to work or school on Monday.
Some students, however, look forward to Friday for a very different reason. One of our Site Coordinators, Derek Miller, recently recounted how he had some students counting down the days until Friday. “Only three more days until Friday, Mr. Miller! Only three more days!” Thinking that there must be something very special happening on that day, Derek asked “What’s so special about Friday?” The reply: “That’s when you give us food!”
The food these students are referring to are the Friday Food Packs that our partner,Kalamazoo Loaves & Fishes, makes available to students with the support of volunteers and the organization of our Site Coordinator. Each week, approximately 650 elementary students receive a food pack, filled with nutritious, easy-to-prepare food that kids can make and eat over the weekend. With a number of KPS students qualifying for Free and Reduced Lunch, many students eat most of their week’s meals at school, which means Friday could be kind of a scary day.
In addition to the Friday food packs, Kalamazoo Loaves & Fishes makes it possible for our Site Coordinators to operate a food pantry in six secondary schools and one elementary school. Our Site Coordinators work to help connect families to the larger community food pantry system to address food security issues. Food Security is the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s measure of hunger. Approximately one in six households (17.2 million Americans) is considered food insecure, reporting that they are worried food will run out, that they can not afford a balanced meal, that they have to cut meal size or skip it all together and that they are hungry but do not eat.
This week, as I count down to Friday, I will be reminded of how grateful I am for our partners, volunteers, and Site Coordinators who make Fridays (and every day) a good day for our kids.