SWLA Food for Thought provides nutrition for children on weekends

Published: Aug. 16, 2022 at 5:58 PM CDT|Updated: Aug. 16, 2022 at 7:17 PM CDT
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Lake Charles, LA (KPLC) - There is a grass roots effort in Lake Charles to supply food for children who might otherwise go hungry.

As a parent, it’s satisfying to see your child eagerly dive into a delicious meal, lovingly prepared at home, but in these days of rising gas prices and high electric bills, not all families have enough.

Volunteers for another effort, to provide new clothes for children, discovered some of their food needs are not met after they leave school for the weekend.

Shari Davis goes to a warehouse weekly to help sort food so bagged meals can be handed to children on Fridays. The children who need help are known only by school personnel. Perceptive teachers, counselors, bus drivers and others identify those who would benefit and they are added to the list.

Davis said the children make sure to get their food on Friday.

“They know that’s going to help them get through the weekend and not only for themselves, they’ll say, ‘I’m going to give this to my little sister or brother.’ They’re very concerned about their siblings at home,” Food for Thought founder, DeWanna Tarver said.

She said they started helping 250 children a year ago and now collaborate with Sale Street Baptist church to help a thousand.

“Teachers would tell us that they would have students that would come in on Monday morning that had had no food since they left school on Friday. Those kids had headaches, they had stomach issues, they were lethargic. In no way could a teacher start to teach that child until they had fed that child. So, that child lost half a day every week because of that issue,” Tarver said.

She believes there are many more in need.

“Statewide 25% of the public school students go home on the weekends with little or no food. In our community it’s closer to 30 or 31%,” Tarver said.

While there may be negligent parents, she believes many are trying.

“Some of them are struggling to do absolutely everything they can. They’re having to make the choice whether to put gas in their car to go to work, whether to pay the electricity bill to keep the electricity on and food. And unfortunately, food is the one that is flexible, that they can cut back on,” Tarver said.

Tarver said financial contributions are the best way to help, and since they run on volunteers and donations, they have no overhead or administrative costs.

To donate, CLICK HERE.

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