Snacks + schools – supporting teachers & students!
I will admit it, I’ve got a soft spot for educators. Both of my parents were originally teachers, and my husband has spent 12 of the last 13 years working in Tacoma Public schools. We have many friends and several family members who teach or are administrators locally. When we moved in 2010, one of our criteria was that we remain in the Tacoma Public School boundaries.
Last Fall, I saw a few posts from teacher friends that caught my attention on Facebook. They were diligently couponing and shopping the back-to-school sales to purchase supplies for their high school students. I started asking around about how I could help our friends. And their answer surprised me. “What we need more than anything is snacks. Our kids are hungry.”
Teachers who are supporting students in our highest poverty schools are already providing SO MUCH to these students, it seemed like the least we could do was provide some granola bars. So the boys and I did some deliveries in the Fall to Jason Lee and Jenny Reed Elementary. We were all moved by the thank you’s we received from those students. These weren’t just snacks, they were affirmations that their community cared for them, and that learning was important.
But the idea to involve others in my snack solution didn’t really take shape until January this year. There was a lot of frustration and negativity stemming from the election, and numerous friends had mentioned feeling hopeless and discouraged. It seemed like the perfect time to DO something good. So I did what all good hostesses do, and offered wine, cheese & camaraderie in exchange for enough shelf stable snacks to feed one classroom. We gathered at Markee in Old Town, and unsurprisingly, beat our goal thanks to the generosity of the women pictured here.
The next day the boys and I delivered the snacks to First Creek Middle School, which opened in a brand new building on Tacoma’s Eastside in 2009. The new school welcomed the students from what was previously known as Gault and McIlveigh. They now have more than 750 students, and like Lincoln High School (which they feed into) are one of the most diverse schools in the city. In 2011, they were recognized as one of Washington State’s most innovative schools for their “wrap around” approach. Learn more about that here: https://www.tacomaschools.org/schools/innovative/Pages/Innovative-School-First-Creek-Middle-School.aspx
We were lucky enough to have current teacher Clare Rock join us at Markee and share a little bit about her students and some of the challenges they face at school. We chose First Creek as our first snack recipient because 88% of the students there are eligible for free and reduced lunch. Many of these same students participate in extended day academic schedules and after school activities. Clare told us that students often go 4-5 hours between meals, which is a long time for fast-growing teens!
Having healthy snacks available allows hungry students to focus more on learning, and shows support for our teaching community — many of whom regularly purchase school supplies & snacks out of pocket for their kids.
Our next gathering will be on March 12th at 3 pm and we would love to have you join us! We will be supporting Blix Elementary, and their principal will be sharing a little bit about what makes their students & school special. If you would like an invitation, please call or text me at 253-444-8481 or email me at: firstname.lastname@example.org. If you prefer to donate cash and have us purchase healthy snacks on your behalf — or if you would like us to pickup snacks from your home or workplace — just say the word and we will make it happen!
Thank you for your support!