As an all volunteer organization, we rely on community members to prepare snack packs, host food drives, and donate to the program. At least once a month we have "packing parties" so people who are unable to come on Thursday mornings can still participate in preparing snack packs.
The below forms pertain to the Potsdam Snack Pack Program. To enroll a child in the program you can download and sign the enrollment letter and submit it to your child's teacher. The Snack Pack Flyer contains general information as well as a list of food items people can donate to the program. For further information please email email@example.com.
We usually stock 22 items in our inventory. Each week we vary at least one-third of the items in the snack pack.
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St. Lawrence County is one of the poorest counties in New York State. According to the most recent statistics provided by the SLC Community Development Program, 27.1% of children under 18 are living in poverty. Each week hundreds of children leave school knowing that there may not be sufficient food at home.
The Potsdam Snack Pack Program was started at Lawrence Avenue Elementary School as a way to meet an identified need. With the support of the Potsdam Lions Club and New Hope Community Church, the program was officially launched on November 4, 2016. For some students, the snack pack provides a little "extra" food to get them through the weekend. For others, it may be a very different story.
The number of students enrolled in the program has steadily increased over the past two years. At the end of the 2017-2018 school year 168 students across the Potsdam Central School District were receiving snack packs. By January 2019, the number of students receiving snack packs increased to more than 280 per week. We attributed the "surge" to the partial government shutdown over the holiday season.
Since the start of the 2019-2020 school year, the numbers have increased each week. As of September 20, 2019, more than 290 students from Head Start to the high school level are receiving snack packs.
From the early days of the program, we have received tremendous support from individuals, local businesses, and service organizations. New Hope Community Church donated a classroom that now functions as our storage and distribution site. One of our volunteers donated funds to purchase our first shelving unit, and Health Initiative, Inc. awarded us a grant t to purchase a refrigerator, additional shelving, and push cart. We also received financial support from Agway, Canton-Potsdam Hospital, Health Initiative, Inc., GardenShare, Lions Club, New Hope Community Church, InterVarsity Christian Fellowship, North Country Savings Bank, BJ's Wholesale, Stewart's Shops, Gamer Craze in Canton, Morgan Stanley Wealth Management, Potsdam United Methodist Church and numerous individuals. Various groups also hosted food drives and collected donations from local shoppers. We are an all-volunteer organization with no overhead, so the funds donated are used to purchase food items.
One of the added benefits of overseeing the snack pack program is all the wonderful, caring, and giving individuals I get to meet on a daily basis. We also have a dedicated group of volunteers who work diligently to prepare the snack packs and take care of any incidental issues that may arise. Without their ongoing commitment to the program we would not be able to provide the current level of support to our young students.
As a member of the Food Bank of Central New York, we are required to have an official food policy that governs the type of items we can include in the snack pack. We are committed to eliminating foods that are high in calories and low in nutrient density. Candy and soda are normally not included in snack packs, and we discourage collecting those items during our food drives.
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