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      Snack Pak 4 Kids expands to Dumas ISD

      We've been reporting the past several months on the development of the Snack Pak 4 Kids program. It's the one that wants to keep hungry kids fed over the weekend. The program continues to expand into the towns of the Panhandle.

      As families continue to struggle in these tough economic times, many have to choose, pay their bills or pay for food. Often times, the bills come first. That's where Snack Pak 4 Kids comes into play. The organization gives out bags of snacks to last through the weekend for students who are on the free or reduced lunch program. Joe Rivera says he recognized the need for the program in Dumas Independent School District and took action.

      "My wife and I went to go check it out thinking, hey this is something that we can do as part of our church program and it turned out to be much broader than that. Meaning this is a community project and there's a need in Dumas for that.There's a need and it's right here in our own backyard. People really don't understand that, but 70% of the kids in DISD are on free or reduced lunches, " said Snack Pak 4 Kids Dumas Co-Chair, Joe Rivera.

      Once community members recognized that need, start up took-off.

      "There's been tremendous support. Lots of phone calls lots of conversation. Mr. Stroebel (DISD Superintendent)and I have spoken at a couple of organizations and churches just to get the word out."

      Their efforts have proven to be successful.

      "We started the program March 8th we packed bags the Tuesday the week before we packed 750 bags to prepare for a whole month at that point Friday we had identified 186 kids in DISD that are eligible for the program".

      114 students are going to receive bags at all five elementaries. But the headquarters for packing them will be housed at Green Acres Elementary. Its all about the Panhandle Spirit these communities embody, coming together for a common cause, making sure these children don't go hungry.

      Rivera says the Dumas group has plenty of volunteers, so many they've had to set up volunteers teams that take turns. But they are always in need of donations, especially Pop-Tarts and peanut butter. You can also drop those off at Green Acres Elementary.