Show of hands: how many out there actually enjoy making lunches for their kids every day, five days a week.  Don’t worry, you’re not alone. 

My daughter enjoys helping pack school lunches for her and her brother, which is wonderful for me to see as I know it aids in lunches actually being eaten, and yes, it makes my days a little less hectic. Sure, I have evenings when I would just rather veg out on the couch after dinner with a glass of wine and catch up on my favourite Netflix series and then call it a night.  We all do as parents.  

One particular night a few years ago while my daughter was carefully packing away, I was inevitably brought back down to earth by my then 8-year-old child as I cleared the last few dishes into the dishwasher.

I eyed my daughter as she sneakily added extra snacks into her lunchbox: 2 oranges, 2 granola bars, 2 yogurts, 2 fruit bars, 2 Ziploc bags full of cheese crackers, plus an extra sandwich.  At first, I was surprised, then a bit agitated (as I knew she never ate that much), then suspicious.

“That’s a whole lot of food right there for one day,” I uttered ambiguously as I walked past her, taking a quick flash at her lunch box. The fact that she was hiding it from me and knowing she most likely will waste it was what bothered me most.

Moving a lot quicker, she threw everything into her box, zipped it shut and then proceeded to place inside the refrigerator.

“I’ve been really hungry lately, mommy.  Maybe because of gym class and school soccer.” 

I hesitated for a bit contemplating her response for validity knowing she, indeed, had extra physical activities as of late, but still felt it in my mama bear radar that something else was up.

“Ava, please. You definitely do not eat that much. What’s all the food for?”

My daughter finally fessed up that she has been packing some extra snacks for her classmate for the past couple of weeks.  This explains the extra groceries, I thought to myself as she proceeded to explain.

She told me that her classmate always came to school extremely hungry and asked her if she can share her lunch and snacks in secret since the school did not allow lunch-sharing for safety reasons.

Ever since then, she took it upon herself to make extra just for her classmate.

I was very touched by this gesture of friendship and benevolence by my then eight-year-old.  The fact that she herself noticed how physically and mentally tough it was for her classmate to focus on her studies due to hunger and just wanted to make things better for her, was heart-warming.  But also, a sad and harsh reality.

As a mother, it hurts me to think of those parents that truly want to ensure their kids are eating and doing well in school, but are having a hard time providing enough.  It really breaks my heart.

Thankfully, our children’s current school does offer a school snack program (which I had volunteered to help with last year).

Three days a week, healthy school snacks are provided to each classroom in addition to children’s lunches, just in case there are extra hungry tummies.

Not every school is offered these types of programs unfortunately.  And not every child and household can afford to provide a proper breakfast let alone a filling lunch.

In the absence of daily school meal programs, children in households affected by food insecurity are especially vulnerable to hunger.

 This is why I’m thankful for this great program  called Project Backpack that is made possible with the support from PC Children’s Charity.  It not only helps the children, but the entire family!

Kids who eat well, do well.

Project Backpack is designed to help reduce food insecurity for young people and their families.  Once a week, program participants are given a food-filled backpack to bring home, with nutritious food that they can easily assemble into healthy meals over the weekend.

Project Backpack is one of many initiatives made possible by $150 million commitment from PC Children’s Charity to tackle childhood hunger and has been running since 2015.  To date, PC Children’s Charity has granted $1 million dollars to fund the program.  Amazing!

This year, 31 Boys and Girls Clubs are running Project Backpack, reaching more than 1,000 children and youth across the country!

This weekend, my children and I put together a backpack filled with some nourishing food items to donate to our local school in need.  My kids were excited to help put the backpack together knowing that it was going to help feed a child and their family but also confounded and pensive that the exact contents in the backpack represented all of the food they will have access to over the weekend.  They realized how very fortunate they were with what their parents were able to provide for them every day; the little things that they often take for granted. I appreciated the exemplification this brought to my kids and even to myself.

To learn more about PC Children’s Charity including Project Backpack and ways that you can help donate and give back to your community, visit them online at http://www.pc.ca/charity.

Does your children’s school offer a nutrition program?  What are some ways you and your children got involved in giving back to those in need? I’d love to hear your stories.

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Disclosure:  This is a sponsored post in collaboration with PC Children’s Charity; however, all opinions expressed are entirely those of the author.

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