Children and Youth

Vacation Bible School and Small Group Curriculum

Are you looking for a local mission for your VBS, small group or congregation?  These curricula and resources invite your group or congregation to a learning experience and service opportunity.

One of the best ways to help alleviate childhood hunger is to fill in the gaps when students don’t have access to meals.  Food For Kids or Weekend Back Pack programs provide snacks for students identified by a school counselor to take home on the weekend. Food Banks, Food Pantries and churches work together or solely to fill this gap.  When students can come to school on Monday having something to eat or a little more than they would normally get, then they can pay better attention rather than focus on how hungry they are.

The curriculum is available here.

Additional Things to Know, Resources and Links

For more information about Food for Kids programs click here:

To match your church to a regional Food Bank in your area, use this list. For a List of Food Banks in Arkansas, click here.

Maddie’s Fridge by Lois Brandt is the book included in the Pre K-2nd Grade Curriculum: https://www.overdrive.com/media/2064284/maddis-fridge

Things to know:

  1. You may give your collections directly to a food pantry rather than to the Food Bank. This process saves additional costs in distribution by the Food Bank to a pantry.
    • Check out this manual. This helpful information is specific to the AR Food Bank but can be applied to working with the other food banks.
    • Important: If the food pantry is an agency of a particular food bank, let that Food Bank know of your intentions so that those donations can be counted for their record keeping.
  2. Always check with the organization you want to support before announcing collections to make sure they can accept what you are collecting.
    • Hygiene Kits may need to be given to someone else if a regional food bank can’t take them. Just ask.
    • If you cannot determine what organization supports a local Food For Kids backpack program, contact the school counselor at nearby local elementary schools to see if they know.
  3. 200K Reasons makes grant awards to United Methodist Churches for ongoing Food for Kids Backpack programs.
    • To donate to a local UMC Food for Kids program, contact 200K Reasons for help determining who has this ministry in your area.
    • 200K Reasons can accept financial donations. 100% is used to make grant awards for backpack programs and other feeding ministries that help feed food insecure children. Contact 200K Reasons for more information.
    • 200K Reasons Project Coordinator – Mary Lewis Dassinger, mdassinger@arumc.org.
  4. Please do not deliver coins and cash collected directly to the Food Bank or an organization. The money collected should be deposited into a church account and a check be written to the organization for the amount donated.

Other Resources and Links

BOOKS and ACTIVITIES for Preschool- 1st Grade Kids

There are lots of websites to offer suggestions of books that deal with food. Go shopping for food based on the book and donate it to a local pantry or lower-income after-school program.  Or, work with a teacher to provide a special reading time and snack or breakfast in a classroom at a local school.

  • The Very Hungry Caterpillar or Brown Bear by Eric Carle
    • Create a scavenger hunt in a grocery stores for the food in the book or with the same color.
  • One Potato, Two Potato by Cynthia DeFelice
    • Create a challenge where each grade/age tries to double what the younger age group collected.
  • The Hungry Monster by Susan Heyboer O’Keefe
    • Create a list of what a hungry monster would like to eat and collect these foods.
  • Stone Soup by Marcia Brown
    • Host a Stone Soup Community Meal where kids bring ingredients and cook it for the community.  Read the book at the meal!

Collect Food

  • Fill—A—Bag Ministry
    • Using, refillable grocery bags provided by 200K Reasons, collect food for a local food pantry. Bags are free to those worshipping on average 50 or fewer every Sunday or at cost ($1.35 each) for larger churches. Click here for more information.
  • Grocery Store Scavenger Hunts for families or small groups
  • Mini-can food drive for backpack or other ministries that offer snacks to hungry kids.
    • Include small cans of soup, canned meat, vegetables, and individual servings of ramen noodles, applesauce, peanut butter, nut mixes, raisins, fruit cups, instant oatmeal, and more.

Experiential Learning

Family SNAP Challenge – Take the challenge! Can you feed your family for a week on $5/person/day?  Oh, and make it healthy! Click here to download the instructions.

Poverty Simulation – This experiential game is a fun but insightful way for groups of all ages to learn about the challenges of a family trying to make ends meet on a limited income. The game includes instructions with real life challenges such as a care repair or medical bill that participants use as they go through daily living, life circumstances cards, and a PowerPoint presentation the exercise leader will use with participants.

Host a HUNGER DINNER as an individual family or in a larger community setting. Click here for more information.

Fair Share Meal – Heifer International offers an experiential learning event appropriate for middle school-age through adult participants. Click here for more information.

Raise Money and Awareness

Donate to or Sell T-shirts for 200K Reasons – All money raised is used to provide grants for ministries in churches around the state that seek to feed hungry children.

 

Fill the Ark for Heifer Lenten Calendar – Raise money for Heifer or create your own Lenten calendar and donation activity for 200,000 Reasons, No Kid Hungry or Food For Kids. Click here for more information.

Host a CROP WALK – Raise awareness and money for hunger. Click here for more information.

Educate your State Legislators, US Congressmen, and Local District SuperintendentsHave kids tell their locally elected officials how important it is that their hungry friends get help.  National School Lunch and Breakfast After the Bell provide 2 meals per day.  SNAP Benefits for the working poor and federal funding for summer meals at local Boys & Girls clubs and other care organizations lessen food insecurity.