Kids Kupboard Feeds Kids in Need
by Susan Neuhalfen
Living in a “bubble” like Lantana, it can sometimes be hard to picture that there are kids going hungry in our community schools but the problem is bigger than you think.
When Lara Lopez and her husband Damen moved to Lantana, they were looking for ways to give back to the community they now called home. They had been involved with a network of schools in Amarillo where they were feeding thousands of kids who were not getting anything more to eat than the meals they received from school. That left not only breakfast and dinner on school days, but entire weekends with little to no food.
Lara approached a DISD school counselor to see if any need like this existed in the area. The counselor researched and found that there was a need and Lara
got to work.
Kids Kupboard packs snack bags for children who may not otherwise eat over the weekend when they are not provided school meals. They support 3 local schools: McNair Elementary, Blanton Elementary, and Adkins Elementary.
They started by packing 25 bags on Fridays, just plain paper bags with no markings filled with non-perishable food items. Fast forward a few years and four daughters later and not only do they make it a family affair for the Lopez family, it’s a neighborhood effort.
Kids Kupboard now produces 120 bags per week for the three elementary schools. Every Tuesday after school, the Lopez family, along with the neighbors and their kids, pack and pray over the bags that Lara will deliver to the schools on Friday.
“It’s good for the kids to understand that not everybody lives like we do,” said Lara. “It gives them a sense of community, but it also builds their faith.”
On Friday, the bags are handed out by the school counselor to the children in need with no fanfare, they place them in the backpacks and go home.
What’s even more unbelievable to some is that these kids aren’t even going to a home of any kind. Some are living in cars and many are homeless. The homeless population among DISD students is an issue that is surfacing as a real problem. These bags, according to Lara, are one of the only consistent things in their young lives.
This year, the Lantana Ladies League asked for food donations for their first meeting and with over 100 in attendance, Lara said her car, and her heart, were full.
“They not only brought us food, they gave us a donation of $500 for the year,” said Lara. “We are so blessed.”
Heather Shimala, president of the Lantana Ladies League said she and the ladies were only too happy to help.
“We were surprised at how many kids needed help,” said Heather. “It was even a good learning opportunity for my kids to see how many children were affected by this.”
According to Lara, the types of food needed are non-perishable food items and individual wrapped snacks. Things like mac ’n cheese, pretzels, individual peanut butter packs, fruit cups and the like are what they put in leftover grocery bags for the kids to take home.
Lara says she is overwhelmed by the support of the Lantana community, her neighbors, the Lantana Ladies League and, most of all, the kids who help.
“I tell my girls, ‘Live not by words but by actions and truth,’” said Lara whose daughters Sophia, Olivia, Mia and Ava all help each week. “Together we can do big things that make a difference.”
For those interested in donating, e-mail Lara at email@example.com.
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