AMARILLO, TX- Snack Pak 4 Kids, a local organization aimed at feeding needy children, is gearing up for the winter break when children are away from the free school breakfasts and lunches.
Dyron Howell started the organization in the panhandle two years ago, and the program has expanded to several local school districts. Every Friday, about 2,400 students in and around Amarillo are sent home with a bag of food in their backpacks to ensure they have food to eat over the weekend.
"When these kids are hungry, they're in survival mode," said Howell. "When they're in the classroom, they're focused on when do I get to eat next."
Children in the panhandle will go on winter break next week. In order to ensure the 2,400 kids who get help from Snack Pak 4 Kids, the organization packed thousands more bags for next week, each with more food than usual. The bags will be put in the children's backpacks on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday.
"There's a true need, and when you create a vision and you help people understand the need that exists, people really rally around that," Howell said.
Right now the program serves children in pre-school through fifth grade. Teachers say they see an improvement in the students who receive the food.
"I think it's helped them feel more secure about themselves," Sanborn Elementary first grade teacher said. "Not just improving their behavior, but their grades. They can concentrate on their homework, and they feel the love that comes from getting that snack pack. They know there's someone out there who cares enough about them to make sure all their needs are met."