Weekend meals organized for Martin Walker Elementary students in-need
he state of Texas ranks with one of the highest 2020 food insecurity projections due to COVID-19 according to a recent report by Feeding America. The non-profit organization estimates that 2.3 million Texas children are not getting enough food.
Copperas Cove ISD offers its free and reduced meal plan to families, ensuring that students have food each day of the week when they are in school. But, facing a weekend with no food available can be a scary prospect for many children.
Thanks to the hard work of Little Miss Five Hills Alaya Pringle, Martin Walker Elementary students do not have to worry about their meals on Friday night, Saturday or Sunday. Pringle hosted a lemonade stand in front of her home on Lemonade Day Weekend in late July and used the money she raised to purchase non-perishable food items to start the program.
As a titleholder in the Miss Five Hills Scholarship Program, Alaya, with the help of her parents, selected the five-year-old’s platform as “fighting hunger.” Kila Pringle said the service project was chosen because Alaya loves cooking and eating but she loves helping people even more.
“Because of COVID19, the issues of food shortages and hunger are even worse than before,” Kila Pringle said. “We wanted Alaya to be able to share her love for food with the world and the ultimate goal is to help fight hunger.”
Alaya Pringle raised $531.10 at her lemonade stand. Using social media, Pringle’s mom helped draw customers to her daughter’s stand and provided an option to donate money online to support Pringle’s efforts to eradicate hunger. Alaya Pringle used the money to purchase groceries to start the Blessings in a Backpack Program at Martin Walker Elementary School where more than half of the students qualify for the federal free/reduced meal program.
“My dad helped me decide what to buy. We bought a lot of oatmeal and vegetables and my favorite was the cereal,” Alaya Pringle said. “I had fun delivering the food and we knew Mrs. (Shawnyah) Golden from my church.”
Golden is the Communities in Schools Martin Walker Elementary campus representative who is distributing the food to students who would otherwise go hungry on the weekends when away from school.
“The weekend backpack program will make a tremendous difference in the lives of the students here at Martin Walker Elementary. A vast majority of the children are at-risk of going hungry over the weekend and therefore, rely on school meals,” Golden said. “This program will allow us to ensure that those children that are in need have meals. The meals are not only easy to prepare, but also deemed nutritious.”
The school’s student council will prepare the bags of food weekly and Golden places the bags of food discreetly in the students’ lockers. At the end of the day, the student can then put the weekend meals in his backpack unobserved so there is no stigma to receiving meal support through the program.
Pringle will continue to conduct collection drives through her neighborhood, church, and other sources as her service project with the Copperas Cove Miss Five Hills Scholarship Pageant.