By Gwen Guerke, Communications Coordinator
Each afternoon at the end of the school day, about 100 children gather in the cafeteria of North Georgetown Elementary School for a healthy after-school snack.
The kids polish off their fruit and milk before boarding a bus to LaCasita where they receive homework assistance; for most, English is their second language.
Even though they are young, their days start early and end late.
Sandi Hagans is program manager, representing First State Community Action Agency, as a partner with the Food Bank of Delaware to assure that these students, as well as those from Georgetown Elementary School, and schools in the Woodbridge and Cape Henlopen School districts have some nourishment at the end of the school day.
The Food Bank of Delaware recognizes that one in five children in Delaware live in poverty. The after-school nutrition program is just one of our children’s nutrition programs.
Sandi says that her recruitment for participants starts when schools open in late August, as she encourages parents to enroll their children in the program.
“The need is so great,” she said. “We can’t take for granted what is happening after school. We have to make sure they are eating.”
Now a grandmother, she says she knows what it is like “to operate on an empty stomach” because she grew up in a large family with a single mother.
“My heart goes out to these students, and I want to make sure they eat.”
Sandi says she also understands the parents’ reluctance to sign their children up for a helping program.
“I get it. Pride can step in,” she said. “You don’t want your kids to know you’re poor.”
This program manager is pleased to see children enjoying fresh fruit, like apples and oranges.
“I don’t know what we would do without the Food Bank,” she said.
For more information about the after-school nutrition program, please click here.