With the school year underway, local students are busy heading to class and after-school activities. However, there are many who return home on the weekends with little to no access to regular meals. Residents at Buckner Westminster Place want to change that for the Longview community.
Twice a month throughout the school year, the residents of the senior living community gather together to prepare 50 snack packs filled with food and treats like macaroni and cheese, oatmeal, cheese crackers, apple juice and pudding that are then distributed to students of South Ward Elementary.
“This is our fourth school year to participate in the snack pack program, and it’s something that residents are always eager to join,” said Bob Webster, a resident at Buckner Westminster Place. “We’re always looking for ways to give back to the greater community, and this is an opportunity that enables our senior community to support local children and ensure their needs are met. By providing these snack packs, we know students are going home on the weekend with something to eat and won’t go hungry.”
The program began in 2012 while Melanie Wright was volunteering with Buckner Children and Family Services as part of the organization’s summer feeding program. Through the summer program, Melanie conteplated what could be done throughout the year to ensure they were continuing to meet the needs of these children all year long.
“It’s incredibly important to serve our local community and help these kids get the nutrition they need,”Melanie said. “Through this program we’re able to show them a little extra bit of love and kindness they may not experience otherwise. We also want them to know that their community cares about them and wants them to be happy. It’s a joy to see how much the residents at Westminster Place love doing this and it’s really a win-win for everyone.”
“At Buckner Westminster Place, we believe in the importance of community and doing what we can to support one another,” said David Sims, executive director of Buckner Westminster Place. “We’re honored to have the opportunity to support local students and ensure they have everything they need to be successful, and that includes access to a meal. We hope that by sharing our involvement in the snack pack program that we can shed light on the issue of hunger in our community and inspire others to find ways they can give back.”