Poverty is defined “as the state of one who lacks a usual or socially acceptable amount of money or material possessions” (Wikipedia.com) .  For 2011 in the United States, the poverty guideline for a family of 4 is $22,350.  That equates to $1862.50 a month (before taxes) for food, clothing, shelter, insurance, transportation and all the other stuff goes with life.   Many of these families use public assistance – aka welfare – to help make ends meet.

Many children of these families are in the public schools, receive free breakfast and receive free or reduced lunch.  For these children the meals provided at school are the only regular meals they get.  That makes for difficult times over the weekends and even more difficult times when school is out for extended periods such as winter break or spring break.

Denyse Hughes is a counselor with Finneytown Schools.  When Denyse recognized this problem with students in her district she and her small group from Compass Community Church decided to tackle the problem head on…

 “… last year our small group was trying to think of an outreach to do for spring. We decided, after some research, that we would bridge the food gap for some needy students during spring break. We decided that we would provide breakfast and lunch to take the place of the free/ reduced breakfast and lunch they would’ve gotten if they were at school. In an effort to meet as many needs as we could, we served students that have siblings in both of the Finneytown elementary schools that were receiving free or reduced lunch. We went with products that kids can prepare for themselves without needing to use the stove or a can opener, so we provided cereal, granola bar, peanut butter, jelly, bread and applesauce. Our twelve member group provided breakfast and lunch for approximately 80 students.”

This year, Denyse and her small group put the challenge out to the entire church: help us feed 1000 kids over spring break.  Their group has put together something called Power Packs.  Power Packs contain easy-to-prepare foods like milk & cereal, canned pastas and stews, applesauce, pudding and canned fruit for children to take home so they will have something to eat over spring break. By purchasing supplies in bulk, they are able to get the price of a single Power Pack to $5.

So I’m putting the challenge out to YOU.  Help make a difference today by donating $5.00 to provide a spring break Power Pack for a Cincinnati child.  You can donate online at Compass Community Church.