UPDATE! Hunger Heroes in the news! Click here for the NBC-15 story on our efforts to make a difference for students and families in Sun Prairie!
One of the things we love most about living in Sun Prairie is how our community comes together to help those in need.
And right now there are hungry students in our public schools who need your help.
In recent years, we’ve worked hard to advocate for policies that ensure that every student in our schools has equal opportunity to succeed, and we are proud to live in a community where the school board and district administration put students first when making policy decisions.
After learning more about how many students are hungry in our district and how many teachers and staff members were paying out of pocket to meet their most basic needs, we started a 501(c)(3) non-profit – the SPARC Local Action Fund – to do our part in making sure kids were ready to learn and thrive in our amazing public schools. And community partners have stepped up to help in a powerful way – from businesses and churches to individuals and civic groups. We are so thankful for this support!
Research shows a clear correlation between nutrition and brain development, and hunger and the ability to concentrate and learn. We know that all of our students have great potential – but some are struggling to achieve because they are hungry during the school day.
Thanks in part to your help shining a spotlight on student hunger through out Snack Smart program, we were able to advocate for changing district policy so that no student is “shamed” in the lunchroom by receiving a cold lunch because of an inability to pay. The district now prides itself on being a leader in this area, and is committed to providing a fair and equitable lunch for all students, regardless of their ability to pay.
Our efforts helped make sure that more students are eating full, hot, healthy lunches and breakfasts every day, but it also exposed some other areas where past practices haven’t always been equitable. We learned that some schools had “care accounts” or “angel accounts” to help cover such costs, while others did not. This didn’t seem fair. So the district pushed pause on such accounts to try to see how much money was really going into covering the costs of student lunches, and started better tracking how many families are struggling to keep up with lunch accounts.
What we’re learning is that many families in our community are struggling. The district has a negative lunch balance of $57,000, with about $400 accumulating every day. This has helped the district better assess where they can focus on helping families who may be eligible apply for Free and Reduced Lunch, and it’s also helped us see how much cost they’d been absorbing through Care Accounts and other ways schools and teachers were quietly meeting these needs “under the radar.”
We can do better…if we all chip in what we can today.
As the district continues to review its practices and works to help families connect to the resources they need, we ask you to consider supporting our efforts to make sure we can continue to ensure that no student goes hungry in our schools. Every dollar we collect will be used to pay down the “lunch debt” that has accumulated during this review period.
If you or your organization would like to be a HUNGER HERO for Sun Prairie students, make a tax-deductible donation today to the SPARC Local Action Fund, a 501(c)3 non-profit organization. CLICK HERE TO DONATE: Be sure to write HUNGER HERO Fund in the “instructions to seller” space on PayPal – or in the memo line of your check. Donations can be mailed to SPARC Local Action Fund, 6325 Devonshire Lane, Sun Prairie, WI 53590. Donations received by mail are not subject to fees, so if you intend to make a larger donation, this ensures every dollar goes directly to making sure no child goes hungry in Sun Prairie schools! Please email SunPrairieAction@gmail.com with any questions.
Thank you for your support of our students and for your commitment to being a HUNGER HERO for Sun Prairie kids!