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Princeton to Start `Send Hunger Packing’ Program

backpack_white_smallFor some children from low-income families in Princeton, their main sources of food are the meals they eat at school Monday through Friday. Over the weekend, they might not eat much healthy food.

The Princeton Human Services Commission is seeking to help those children with a new program called Send Hunger Packing.

Starting this fall, children in elementary schools in the Princeton Public Schools who qualify for free and reduced lunches will be given a bag each Friday filled with kid-friendly, easy- to-open, nutritionally sound food to ensure that they have meals to eat on weekends.

Resident Ross Wishnick, head of the Princeton Human Services Commission, said about 12 percent of the 3,500 students in Princeton Public Schools qualify for free or reduced lunch. The Human Services Commission has been looking at ways to help those children, and decided to raise money to participate in the Mercer Street Friends program that has been a success in Trenton.

“The food bags from Mercer Street Friends will be placed in school backpacks on Fridays,” Wishnick said. “We will be buying 7,200 meals over the course of the school year.”

The cost of the program for one school year is $35,000. The Human Services Commission has raised $18,000 so far, and is hosting a fundraiser at 4 p.m. on Sunday, June 9 at the Garden Theatre to raise the rest of the money needed for the program. The theatre will screen “A Place at the Table, a documentary that investigates incidents of hunger experienced by millions of Americans, and proposed solutions to the problem. A panel discussion will follow that will include the mother of one of the three families featured in the film.

The cost to attend the fundraiser is $50. A donation of $160 will fund one child’s food for the year and includes two tickets. A donation of $320 will fund two children for the year and includes four tickets to the screening. For more information or to purchase tickets, visit Ticketleap.com or the Princeton Human Services Commission’s Facebook page.

Krystal Knapp

Krystal Knapp is the founding editor of Planet Princeton. She can be reached via email at editor AT planetprinceton.com. Send all letters to the editor and press releases to that email address.

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