ROCK SPRINGS – Whether it’s spending time with family, the favorite presents received or those special Christmas moments, one thing is for sure, giving back has never been cooler. Students of the Rock Springs High School Health Academy are proving just that.
Hunger is not just a problem in other countries but a big problem here at home. According to the Associated Press 21 million students receive free and reduced lunches in public schools. Wyoming isn’t doing much better. Approximately 37 percent of Wyoming student are on this program. This is roughly 33,000 youngsters in Wyoming schools.
Breaking it down by counties in Wyoming, Sweetwater County would definitely be low on the list, right? Wrong again. From the national level all the way down to the county level, the trends mirror each other. Sweetwater County School District No. 1 is actually higher than the state average with almost 39 percent of all students in the district qualifying for free and reduced lunch.
Research shows students who have a well balanced diet do better in all aspects of life including school. With so many children going hungry in the area, the students of the Health Academy decided it was time to give back.
The Giving Back program started in mid November. The idea is to get non-perishable food donations that will then be put into backpacks by the students and handed out in the middle of January.
Currently the program is having a community drive for help and support. They are reaching out to local grocery stores for help such as donating dented cans and also community partners who can help financially or with donations.
The students have also learned an important part of charity drives which is using grant money to help fund the idea. Currently they have received three grants and are in the process of submitting a fourth to Sweetwater County Board Of Cooperative Education Services (BOCES).
There will be drop off boxes wrapped up like presents spread throughout the city where residents can drop off cereal, can goods and other non-perishables. At a recent school board meeting, the group was presented a box full of food. School Board Chairman Justin Spicer also said Pilot Butte Elementary School has had a similar program and maybe the two could work together on some of this.
For information on where the boxes will be located or how you can get involved, residents should call Rock Springs High School and the Health Academy for details and donations.