Through the Rogue Powerpack Program, Junior League of Jackson County (JLOJC) provides weekend food to chronically hungry children in southern Oregon.
JLOJC is a catalyst for community change through effective leadership, volunteerism and community outreach. JLOJC’s membership is comprised of a diverse group of women who come together to positively impact the lives of women and children in our community. JLOJC’s fundraising efforts and volunteer hours focus on JLOJC projects and also on Jackson County groups that serve local women and children.
The Rogue Powerpack Program
Nutrition affects a child’s cognitive, social, and emotional development. Children who do not get the nutritious food their bodies need are more likely to have problems learning, growing and interacting with their teachers and peers.
The Rogue Powerpack Program provides backpacks full of nutritious, child-friendly food to elementary school children who are receiving free breakfast or lunch at school during the week, but are lacking adequate food at home over the weekend. Backpacks are filled every Friday to ensure they do not go hungry while away from school.
Hungry children have enormous problems in school. Signs of chronic hunger can be short attention spans; inability to concentrate; excessive absences; hyperactive, aggressive, irritable, anxious, withdrawn, distressed, or passive/aggressive behaviors; difficulty in forming friendships and getting along with others; and/or sickness, such as sore throat, the common cold, stomach ache, ear infection and fatigue.
While hundreds of individuals are receiving meals through our local food bank distribution programs, we are painfully aware that too many of the poorest and most hungry children either “slip through the cracks” or do not receive enough personal food once it is distributed through our existing food programs. Long-term unemployment is forcing more people to seek emergency food. Of the 270,000 individuals in Oregon receiving emergency food bank meals, 92,000 of them are children.
The Rogue Powerpack Program targets chronically hungry children in Jackson County by working in select public schools where at least 80% of the children receive government-sponsored free meals during the school week, but have no such provisions over weekends.
Working with school principals, counselors, teachers, parents and dedicated volunteer leaders, Junior League of Jackson County will be initiating the Rogue Powerpack Program spring of 2013 and will build upon one elementary school at a time, starting in the Phoenix-Talent School district.
The Rogue Powerpack Program carefully plans to ensure that backpacks are filled with nutritious, child-friendly foods. These items include: tuna pouches, macaroni & beef, peanut butter & jelly squeezers, diced carrots, mixed fruit cups, toasted oats cereal, graham crackers, raisins, granola bars, juice boxes and shelf-stable milk.
The key to this program is sustainability. There are currently 14,000 children eligible in Jackson County for the state-funded free or reduced-price meal program. We must grow this program, however, this growth must be slow and sustainable.
We hope you will consider supporting the Rogue Powerpack Program.