Group 2 3 min Read

What’s in the Box?

Jessica is nine years old. She takes the bus to and from school because her mother works long hours. As the days get shorter and colder, Jessica is excited for the holidays but worries about what she will eat during break. She relies on the school meals she receives through the free and reduced-price lunch program to supplement what her mom can afford.

Her teacher helps her to sign up for Bellevue LifeSpring’s Breaktime-Mealtime™ program, providing boxes of nutritious food to students like her during breaks. The week before winter break, Jessica visits her school’s Family Connection Center. She picks up a cardboard box and carries it home with her on the bus. Her mom is still at work, but Jessica can’t wait to show her what she brought home.

So, what’s in the box?

Bellevue LifeSpring works closely with the Bellevue School District to ensure that what’s in the box meets a growing child’s needs. Each Breaktime-Mealtime box contains a grocery store voucher to purchase fresh fruit, vegetables and dairy as well as healthy, non-perishable items, including:

  • Rice: There are more than 80 languages spoken in the Bellevue School District. Rice is a staple across cultures and can be mixed with soup, veggies or meat to create a more filling meal. It’s also low in fat, low in cholesterol, high in starch and contains nutrients like vitamins E and B and potassium.
  • Tuna: Food-insecure families often opt for unhealthy foods because they are inexpensive and easily accessible. These foods, made with refined grains, added sugars and fats, lack the nutrients children need to thrive. Tuna is versatile, low-fat, packed with protein and contains more than 20 vitamins and minerals.
  • Peanut Butter: Over 250 students in the Bellevue School District are homeless. These students struggle to shower, do their homework and find a safe place to sleep every night. Non-perishable foods like peanut butter are easy to eat, allowing students without access to a kitchen to prepare meals during break.
  • Black Beans: Children who struggle with hunger get sick more often and recover more slowly from illnesses. Black beans contain disease-fighting antioxidants, plus calcium and iron for strong bones and protein for muscles, helping kids to form healthy bodies and minds.
  • Oatmeal: There’s a reason they say breakfast is the most important meal! A good breakfast kick-starts your metabolism, gives you energy and enhances your ability to learn and retain information. Oatmeal is a great way to begin the day, containing both soluble and insoluble fiber that helps kids stay full and focused until lunch.

One in five children in Bellevue is food-insecure and living in poverty. During school breaks, students like Jessica lack access to school meals and many go hungry. Just $25 provides a hungry child with a week’s worth of vital nutrition during a school break. Be a part of the impact this winter break by adopting a Breaktime-Mealtime box.

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