BOZEMAN — On Tuesday, volunteers arrived at HRDC to pack food into sacks they call “KidsPacks” to feed hungry children around the Gallatin Valley.
“We’ve got quite a few items, we usually like to keep it pretty nutrient-dense and provide a wide variety of macronutrients," says Olivia Smart, dietitian and childhood nutrition program coordinator for HRDC.
Olivia explains how KidsPacks usually contain “things like granola bars, we have 100% juice being added, we usually have a box of mac and cheese or microwavable mac and cheese to add, apple sauce, and then some sort of protein item."
KidsPacks were created to provide hungry students with the food and nutrients they may be lacking on their own. Every Friday, packs are given to students in need to give them kid-friendly meals throughout the weekend.
To help fund the program, the Bozeman Schools Foundation launched the Pack The Sack fundraiser five years ago.
Jenn Lammers, executive director of the Bozeman Schools Foundation, says, “Last year we were able to provide HRDC with $25,000.”
The Gallatin Valley Food Bank distributed more than 7,800 KidsPacks to students and families in our community last semester—a statistic that can be read in the donation envelope that all BSD7 students are provided. This year, Pack The Sack needs all the donations it can get.
Lammers tells us, ”Last year we were at an average of 400 packs a week. This year, we're averaging 700 packs a week, sometimes even 900."
Luckily, HRDC has an incredible team of volunteers working hard to pump out as many packs as they can.
“Volunteers show up and they crush the shift every single time. Usually they finish early and they're all so happy to be here and we couldn't do it without them,” says Olivia.
Pack The Sack donations are being accepted until Feb. 14. Anyone interested can donate to Pack the Sack at this link: https://bozemanschoolsfoundation.org/campaigns/pack-the-sack/
You can also text PACKTHESACK to 50155.