Send healthy food and snacks home with homeless and at-risk students each week.

Provide healthy food, and academic and emotional support, to homeless and food-insecure students.

Compass for Kids serves low-income, at-risk (homeless, foster care, parent incarcerated, food insecure, abuse/neglect) elementary students in Springfield School District 186 through its after school program, our summer camp, and our backpack feeding program. Within the District, 63% of students are low-income, 3% are homeless, and there's a 14% mobility rate. Students are referred to us by teachers, Principals, social workers, Parent Educators, or by social service agencies and homeless shelters. Without our backpack feeding program, the children attending our program would not have access to nutritious food outside of school-provided breakfasts and lunches. We believe our kids need healthy food so they can focus, learn, and grow into healthy adults!

$25,000 would fund our backpack feeding program, providing weekly food for over 300 students. Through our backpack program, we send nutritious food home with our students for the weekend, when they may not otherwise have access to food. Our goal is to provide each child with two breakfasts, two lunches, two dinners, and some snacks. All our students are low-income and have one or more risk factors (e.g. homeless, foster care, abuse/neglect, parent incarcerated, or academically behind). The students are identified by their school (e.g. a teacher, social worker, Principal, Literacy Coach) and referred to us. Addressing food insecurity is at the core of supporting our students and providing them with the resources they need to be successful. While our students receive free breakfast and free lunch at school, and at Camp Compass, many of them do not have access to food (or nutritious food) over the weekend.

This grant would allow us to fund our backpack feeding program from an entire year. Our students would not have to spend the weekend worrying about where their next meal was coming from. They could instead focus on their school work, on their friends, and on their families. They could live more typical lives. An average child attending our program is 2.4 years behind in school. All our students are low-income and have one or more risk factors (e.g. homeless, foster care, abuse/neglect, parent incarcerated, or academically behind). Any additional obstacle, especially one as devastating as food insecurity, could be the difference between success and failure. We want to give our kids the best chance to succeed and be productive members of our community -- as we know they can be!