Looking to end child hunger in the Chattanooga area, the Greater Chattanooga Association of Realtors (GCAR) is getting behind the local Snack Pack program, which puts food in the hands of more than 1,000 students a week in 12 Hamilton County schools.
Donating $20,000 to the Snack Pack program this year alone, GCAR will be lending long-term support to the cause with an annual $10,000 donation beginning in 2017.
“In the Chattanooga community, there are thousands of students who leave school on Friday without the certainty of knowing where their next meal is coming from,” said Janice Robertson, a GCAR member who founded the Snack Pack program in 2014. “We needed a discreet way to make sure these children will not go hungry.”
Designed to meet the needs of children who might go without meals from Friday’s school lunch until Monday’s school breakfast, the Snack Pack initiative allows teachers to anonymously and discreetly place a snack pack in a selected child’s backpack every Friday.
Each pack contains 10 staple food items that help children stay full through the weekend. The Snack Pack program also puts together larger packs of food for spring, fall, and Christmas breaks.
Partnering with the Chattanooga Food Bank to minimize food costs, the Snack Pack program is volunteer-driven, with every penny going to the assembly and distribution of snack packs to Hamilton County schools.
The community gathers at least once a month at East Brainerd Church of Christ to assemble snack packs.
“Over the past two years, we’ve grown significantly through the monetary and hands-on support of community members who share our vision of nourishing our children and equipping them to chase their dreams,” Robertson says. “Valuable partnerships like GCAR’s are what keep us going and these children fed.”
The Snack Pack program provides food for the following schools: Apison Elementary School, Barger Academy, Brown Middle School, Chattanooga Girls Leadership Academy, Chattanooga School for the Liberal Arts, East Brainerd Elementary School, Eastside Elementary School, Harrison Elementary School, Hunter Middle School, Red Bank High School, Wolftever Creek Elementary School and Woodmore Elementary School.
“Proper nutrition is vital to the growth and development of children,” says Nathan Walldorf, GCAR president. “Janice and the Snack Pack program are making a real difference in the lives of Chattanooga’s children, and we’re honored to partner with her and play a role in ending hunger in our community.”
To learn more, donate or volunteer, contact Robertson at (423) 595-1093 or JaniceRobertsonHomes@gmail.com.