DENTON — The Caroline County-based organization Food For Learning will be raising money to help students in need receive meals during the weekends.
According to the Maryland State Department of Education, 53.7 percent or 3,202 students received free or reduced meals in Caroline County Public Schools for the 2017-2018 school year. The percentage is sixth highest in the state.
Fred Spence of Food For Learning and Provident State Bank in Denton said the new organization wants to raise $75,000 this year to go with a grant for a total of $130,000 that will be used to purchase food for students with food insecurities.
“Many of our students only receive meals while they are at school,” he said. “Once the school week ends, they go home and don’t have food for the weekend. Children, who are food insecure, come to school hungry and have lower scores on standardized tests than low-income children who arrive at school well feed.
“We want to change that by providing food for students for the weekend,” he said. “It takes students two days after coming to school on Monday to get their batteries charged up to start learning. That is two days in the school week gone because they didn’t get nutrition over the weekend.”
Food For Learning has partnered with Caroline County Public Schools, Mid-Shore Community Foundation and a number of local businesses, including the Denton Walmart.
Together, they have created a website with information about their mission and a location to make donations. The Food For Learning website is www.carolinefoodforlearning.org.
“We are excited to be a part of this community effort to raise funds to support our backpack and food pantry programs in our schools,” said CCPS Director of Student Services Derek Simmons. “Food insecurity is a real issue, and the dedication of Food For Learning to end it is inspiring.”
The Food For Learning Board of Directors includes Derek Simmons; John Phillips of Sisk Fulfillment; Laura Patrick, Brent Fucts of Heritage Financial Consultants; Roxanne Wolfe; Steve Covey of Choptank Transport; Fred Spence of Provident State Bank; Bill Duffy of the Denton Walmart; Ross Harper of Ridgely Police Department; Jeff Powell of Towers Concrete; Mike Asche of Atlantic Tractor; Dave Whaley; and Pastor Pete Smith.
“We got an outpouring of support from members of the community to get the organization going,” Spence said. “Angela Visintainer is doing our marketing at no charge. She has done wonderful things for us.
“Our goal is to develop and promote a caring environment for students,” he said. “We are proud to be working with the Caroline County Board of Education and Caroline County Public Schools. They do wonderful things for our students, and we want to assist them. We have a group of committed volunteers who want to improve on the social well-being of the students in this county.”
For more information about Food For Learning, visit www.carolinefoodfor learning.org.