A local nonprofit is working to address that problem. Frisco FastPacs delivers weekend meal packs to Frisco ISD students facing food insecurity. Each meal pack contains seven meals that would potentially be missed over the weekend.
“Studies show that kids that are enrolled in the free and reduced lunch program may be at risk of being food insecure over the weekend,” Frisco FastPacs Executive Director Heather Canterbury said. “We’re trying to fill that void so when kids come to school on Monday they’re not hungry because hungry kids can’t learn, and that’s just the bottom line.”
Frisco FastPacs was founded in 2013 by Marian Schulze after she fasted for Lent, Canterbury said.
During that time, Schulze felt a calling from God to make sure local children who may experience hunger on a regular basis could be fed, Canterbury said.
In its first year, Frisco FastPacs served 30 kids in one FISD school. Now, the nonprofit serves more than 1,000 students on 63 campuses in FISD.
At the beginning of the school year, counselors on each campus get a list of the students enrolled in the free and reduced lunch program and send out letters to their families explaining Frisco FastPacs provides weekend meals, Canterbury said.
This school year, for the first time since Frisco FastPacs started, the nonprofit had to implement a wait list.
FISD grew by more than 1,000 students at the start of the school year. Canterbury said not all of those students needed Frisco FastPacs’ services, but a percentage of those students are food insecure.
Canterbury said the organization sent a letter to the school counselors to let them know about the wait list. The letter was then posted on Frisco FastPacs’ Facebook page to also tell the community that the food and monetary donations were not enough to meet the demand of the growing student population.
“The response we received was overwhelming; donations and funds started to roll in, and groups wanting to volunteer rolled in,” she said. “Because of that support, it allowed us to remove kids from that waiting list in about eight weeks.”
Canterbury said one of the challenges Frisco FastPacs still deals with is the lack of awareness of the need.
“Awareness is so key to our operation, and it’s important we reach out to as many people as possible,” Canterbury said. “When you have fantastic awareness, it comes with donations, food and funds.”