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Snack Pak 4 Kids expands to help middle schoolers

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Amarillo, Texas - Childhood hunger is a growing problem in the panhandle. A local group is expanding it's effort to help in the fight against it.

Snack Pak 4 Kids feeds hundreds of elementary school students over the weekends across the panhandle. But childhood hunger doesn't end there. They're now serving middle school students as well.

"We have a good number of kids who when they go home, we're pretty sure they're not getting enough food and nutrition," David Vincent, Austin Middle School Principal says.

Vincent approached Snack Pak 4 Kids after noticing a need by his middle schoolers. But, their need is different from what is provided in the elementary school program.

"These kids, when you're talking about 6th, 7th, and 8th graders they need more food. They're growing. They're more active, and their bodies and metabolism is just higher than a elementary kid," Vincent says.

The Snack Shak was created to meet those different needs. It is designed to be similar to a food pantry with full sized items, but keeps the student's identity hidden.

"What we did is we created this menu that allows the kids to pick specifically what they want. And as they pick it they then turn it back in to their school counselor."

Counselors then turn those menus in and bags are individually packed based on the student's locker number. The bags are then placed in the student's lockers for them to take home on Friday's.

Vincent says he has seen a change in his students since the program started.

"They can stay focused. When you're thinking about food , you're not thinking about learning. When you're thinking about food, that's all you're thinking about. So they are able to stay focused," Vincent says.

The program plans to expand into all the middle schools in Amarillo and we're told, organizers hope to start a high school program by next year.

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