Plastic bags hold the promise that a family will get a good meal. School counselors in the Irving ISD get the bags at the end of every week and into the hands of the students they know need some extra help.
"The kids get excited about their food bags every week. We have remote students who are not on campus this year who are learning at home. And we have parents who will come on Fridays to pick up food for those students as well," said counselor Danielle Johnson as she picked up food bags for about 110 students at Lively Elementary.
Sam Houston Middle School counselor Frank Hammond was there getting food bags for his students, too.
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"We try to make sure they are properly fed so that when they come to us, they are properly fed and ready for a good education," Hammond said.
The food bags come from the nonprofit Irving Schools Foundation and its program called Food for Thought.
It started in 2019. The pandemic of 2020 made the need even greater.
Every weekend now, more than 1,400 kids on 35 campuses rely on the food donated, stocked and bagged by volunteers.
The food bags contain items like chili, soup, pasta, mac n cheese, rice, canned fruits and vegetables, canned beans, canned tomatoes, canned chicken, canned tuna and ramen.
But now the group that's helped so many could use some help, too, as it anticipates what's coming. The foundation's president and CEO Crystal Scanio made the plea in a recent post on Facebook.
"We are in desperate need of volunteers. We are also in need of funds. We are running very short on funds. We're hoping to run through this year but we don't have enough coverage for the summer," Scanio said in the post.
She was joined by Amy Sanders, the program and project assistant who oversees Food for Thought.
"We need food. If anybody would like to come up and donate some food, we would love that as well. Especially canned vegetables and canned fruit. We have a hard time getting that, and that would be fantastic," Sanders said in the post, adding that each bag of food given to a student costs $5 to $7.
That is food for thought. Five to seven dollars feeds a family of four through the weekend and a student can come to class with one less worry.
"Without the Irving foundation, this would not be possible. The hard work of the Irving foundation, the staff, make it possible for us as counselors to meet the needs for our kids," Hammond said.