Arbor Society helping CISTA with 'Friday Food Packs'

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Volunteers from the community and Tecumseh Arbors helped prepare Friday Food Packs last January. Photo submitted.

The Tecumseh Arbor of Gleaner Life Insurance Society will sponsor an evening to assemble Friday Food Packs for Communities in Schools (CIS) on Monday, Jan. 13, 2014. The event kicks off at 6:30 p.m. in the Tecumseh Acres Elementary Media Center.

The Arbor sets up this annual event as a benevolent project. “We purchase $750 worth of healthy snacks, drink boxes, protein bars, fruit cups, etc. that are packaged into bags to be sent home with students in need for the weekend,” said Linda Hewlett, Tecumseh Arbor vice president. “Last year we had about 15 residents who brought donations and helped pack the bags.”

Rhonda Tinsley, CIS coordinator for the project, prepares Friday Food Packs on a weekly basis. Support from the Gleaners is a big help for the program and the 29 students enrolled from Tecumseh Acres and Sutton elementary schools.

“It went really smoothly last year,” said Tinsley. “It was really exciting.”

The Friday Food Packs operates throughout the school year strictly on donations. “Some people give food, some people give money,” Tinsley said. “The Arbor gives us money as well to purchase food for the program.”

“The Tecumseh Arbor of Gleaner Life Insurance Society is pleased to offer support for the Communities In Schools of Tecumseh Friday Food Pack Project,” Hewlett said. “This is the fourth year we have devoted our benevolent funds to the project. Anytime there is an opportunity to help individuals in need, especially children, the Arbor is happy to help.”

At the end of every week, students in the program receive a bag with single serve, easy-to-prepare snacks. Tinsley’s goal is to have nutritious and well-balanced food for students to enjoy when they are not in school.

“It gives them more snacks and nourishment for the weekend,” she said. “The food items are all things the students can prepare themselves.”

Students are referred to the program, and then families are contacted about participation. Parental agreement is necessary for a student to receive a Friday Food Pack.

“Communities in Schools has done a great job coordinating the project to assure that children in need have food items for the weekend,” said Hewlett.

When assembling the packs, Tinsley puts in a protein item, fruit item, one juice, one cereal or granola bar, one breakfast food like oatmeal or cereal, and two salty snacks. The idea is to stay away from junk food, but occasionally there will be little treats for Tinsley to add to the bags in addition to all the healthy food.

Once the bags are assembled, Tinsley distributes them to student lockers. “I place the bags in the student backpacks anonymously,” she said. “We try to make it as anonymous as possible.”

Food can be donated anytime of the year for the Friday Food Packs at Tecumseh Acres. On Jan. 13, the public is invited to be part of the assembly process.

“The public is welcome to assemble,” said Tinsley. “Many hands make light work. Last year we were done in about 45 minutes.”

“Tecumseh is a very giving community,” Hewlett said. “We were very fortunate last year to have members of the community bring food items and help pack the Friday Food Packs. We are excited to again help CIS with this worthwhile project.”

For more information about the Friday Food Packs, contact Tinsley at Tecumseh Acres, 423.9744 or through email at r.tinsley@-tps.k12.mi.us.




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