PASCO, Wash. -- Hundreds of local students aren't waiting for the hottest holiday gift. This year, they simply want to have food on the dinner table.
Pasco's Emerson Elementary School is teaming up with Second Harvest and Faith Center International Church to help feed as many students as they can.
"When you're serving a school that has over 90% free reduced lunch, you know that especially at the end of the month, our kids go home to homes that may not have food," said Emerson Elementary School Principal Josette Mendoza.
It is an unacceptable reality for the staff at Emerson elementary. Working with Faith Center International Church, they started a food backpack program so students don't go hungry when they're at home. At first, there was only enough money for ten students to receive the help. But with help from Second Harvest Food Bank, they were able to stretch their dollars and help their mission go farther.
"They already have a backpack program And the more that we bought, the greater discount we got," said organizer Jo Ann Romero.
Now, 35 kids receive the small bags of snacks twice a month. It is a necessity the kids need not only for their home lives, but also for the classroom.
"Have something that is healthy for them to help with their brain development, because food is essential to their learning too," Mendoza said.
It is a holiday gift, that can change a life.
"Food is a donation that keeps on giving versus a toy or a blanket," Mendoza said.
Organizers want to keep expanding the program to help more kids at other schools. People can sponsor a child for $86.00 a year, to help make sure the students can take some the meal bags. More information is available in packets at Emerson Elementary School or at Faith Center International Church in Pasco.