Smart Sack Program
Colombo Bank Associate Oliver Grigsby packs sacks of food for Highland Elementary School students.
In an area where the poor often remain hidden, one out of every two and a half kids in Montgomery County, MD qualifies at some point for a free and reduced-priced school meal. Children that qualify for free and reduced-priced school meals often have no where to go for food over the weekend. Manna Food Center's innovative Smart Sacks program helps to combat the issue of childhood, weekend hunger.
Corporations participating in Manna's Smart Sacks program partner with a school to provide the volunteer labor to fill and deliver sacks of food to hungry elementary school students in Montgomery County. The sacks provide nutritious and kid-friendly foods to the children to have for the weekend. The Smart Sacks program feeds approximately 800 children per week with more than 250,000 pounds of donated food per month.
Colombo Bank Associates Dolores Colon and Michael Rushin open a delivery of food from Manna Food Center for the Smart Sacks program.
Colombo Bank in Silver Spring, Maryland is one corporation participating in the Smart Sacks program. Every other week, the bank receives a shipment of food from Manna Food Center. Bank employees then pack sacks of food for 44 students-in-need at Highland Elementary School. The bank also has a food donation bin located in its lobby for the public to contribute to the program. "It's a good feeling to be able to give back to the kids and it's a nice thing to be able to do as a team," says Colombo Bank Associate Oliver Grigsby.
Left to Right: Colombo Bank employees Michael Rushin, Kyong Hamilton, Dolores Colon, and Oliver Grigsby.
The bank employees deliver the Smart Sacks to Highland's Linkages to Learning offices. The students pick up the sacks on Friday afternoons before they go home for the weekend. According to Courtney Lust, a student counselor at the school, the Smart Sacks program has been extremely beneficial to the students at Highland Elementary. She says, "For the students participating, it is very reassuring to go home with a bag of food that you will be able to have and use when you are hungry over the weekend."
Sacks of food await delivery to Highland Elementary School. Every other Wednesday, Colombo Bank delivers sacks of food for 44 students-in-need to have for over the weekend.
This is Highland Elementary School's first year participating in the Smart Sacks program. The students, staff, and community have nothing but positive feedback for both Manna Food Center and Colombo Bank for their service. "They are helping in more ways than they know and should consider themselves heroes to many of our children and families," says Ms. Lust.
For more information about
Manna Food Center's Smart Sacks program, visit:
Highland Elementary School:
Smart Sack Program story and photos by Christina Leone