Snack Pak 4 Kids program puts fresh corn on menu

Snack Pak 4 Kids is starting a new incentive that's impacting not just kids anymore, but helping their families. The forces of three came up with the idea to plant some sweet corn, harvest it, and provide it to those Amarillo Independent School District campuses with the highest number of food insecure families. It's this week's Region 16 Spotlight on Education.

"Several school principals have come to me and say they, how can we get fresh produce, fresh vegetables to these kids and so with this project we're going to use our principals to identify and let those families know that this is available and then we'll deliver to those school parking lots," said Snack Pak 4 Kids Founder, Dyron Howell.

That thought, along with the proven success of Will Rogers Elementary's community garden got the mind of many cranking. That's when Wildorado farmer David Cleavinger reached out to Dryon with some good news.

"Then he comes to me 6 months ago and said hey, I've got some seed why don't we plant some corn," said Howell.

"You can tell people to come pick it, and some people will pick it, but a lot of it goes to waste. So we thought well, why don't incorporate this with feeding the hungry in Amarillo. Taking care of people who don't have access to fresh produce," said Cleavinger.

One bag of seed made one and half acres of beautiful sweet corn. They expect to harvest 50,000 ears of corn, and feed at least 3,000 food insecure families in the Tascosa, Palo Duro and Caprock clusters.

"We actually looked at our numbers in the nurses office on Friday afternoons and Monday mornings and after starting Snack Pak 4 Kids are kids stayed out of the nurses office and in the classroom a whole lot more," said Will Rogers Elementary Principal, Terri Huseman.

"One of the challenges right now with hunger is there's not real good access to fresh produce, because of cost and just that cost variable. So why not take a resource that's here in the Texas Panhandle which is our farming community, partner with them and figure out a way to get this direct to those families in need," said Howell.

But Snack Pak 4 Kids is also bringing in the Potter County Texas Agrilife Extension to help educate the public by providing families with information on how to cook the corn. Cleavinger is also helping their Harvest Party on Saturday, August 10th will help educate the public.

"That's the challenge we as farmers face a lot of times is that people don't understand what we actually do so this is an opportunity for people to actually come and see what actually takes place on the farm," said Cleavinger.

On Saturday, August 10th, volunteers are invited to come out and help harvest the corn. They're looking for about 150 people. From there the corn will be loaded into an Affiliated Foods and Baldwin Distribution refrigerated truck and delivered to six AISD campuses. All families are invited to pick up some corn. The schedule is as followed:

Sanborn Elementary 700 S. Roberts at 1:00 p.m.

Rogers Elementary 920 N. Mirror at 2:00 p.m.

Eastridge Elementary 1314 Evergreen at 3:00 p.m.

Margaret Wills Elementary 3500 W. 11th at 1:00 p.m.

Carver Elementary 1905 N.W. 12th at 2:00 p.m.

Alice Landergin Elementary 3209 S. Taylor at 3:00 p.m.

To find out how to volunteer, click here.