By Gisselle Washington | Staff Writer |
Tackling chronic hunger. For students. From students. That’s what Snack Shak has been all about: helping teens and their families who are not able to provide enough food for themselves at home, with the assistance of student volunteers in partnership with Snack Pak 4 Kids. Now in its second year on campus, the program has switched from being in the hands of Katie Devine, who had to take a step back from the program, to Brianne Kennedy.
“One of the things I believe wholeheartedly is that students are not able to do their best at learning if they come to school hungry or are worried about where their family is going to get their next meal,” Kennedy said. “Snack Shak is a relatively simple fix for that…if I can help feed our students, then I can help them learn and ultimately be successful in this endeavor that is school. And as a teacher, that’s one of the most important things I can do.”
Students have been helping volunteer for Snack Shak every week on Wednesdays and Thursdays to put together meals for the families in need.
“It kind of puts you in perspective of the luxury of having food at home with snacks and stuff, unlike other kids who have to wait and go home hungry and wait to the time they come back to school to eat again which majorly sucks,” student volunteer and junior Eliana Negron said. “I really respect Ms. Kennedy for putting so much time into the program and helping out these kids while juggling her job as a math teacher.”
Kennedy teaches algebra, pre-cal onramps, and also helps out with AVID.
Snack Pak 4 Kids reported Roosevelt was the largest program in its repertoire last year.
“Right now we deliver about 60 bags per week,” Kennedy said. “At the height of our program last year, we were sending out about 160 bags and we are excited to climb back up to those numbers as the year progresses. It means we are reaching the families we need to help.”
Snack Shak has had a major impact on the community, and teachers have also taken part, holding the bags in their classrooms for the students, who trusted them and selected them to hold the bags until they pick them up.
“It has been a fun challenge learning how to navigate all of the behind the scenes parts of this project, but it’s also been great getting to talk to and work with teachers who care so much about our students,” Kennedy said. “The faculty has been so supportive of this project and I’m so excited to see it continue to grow throughout the year.”