Food For Learn­ing help­ing stu­dents

Times-Record - - FRONT PAGE - By DUSTIN HOLT dholt@ches­pub.com

— The Caro­line County-based or­ga­ni­za­tion Food For Learn­ing will be rais­ing money to help stu­dents in need re­ceive meals dur­ing the week­ends.

Ac­cord­ing to the Mary­land State Depart­ment of

Ed­u­ca­tion, 53.7 per­cent or 3,202 stu­dents re­ceived free or re­duced meals in Caro­line County Pub­lic Schools for the 2017-2018 school year. The per­cent­age is sixth high­est in the state.

Fred Spence of Food For Learn­ing and Prov­i­dent State Bank in Denton said the new or­ga­ni­za­tion wants to raise $75,000 this year to go with a grant for a to­tal of $130,000 that will be used to pur­chase food for stu­dents with food in­se­cu­ri­ties.

“Many of our stu­dents only re­ceive meals while they are at school,” he said. “Once the school week ends, they go home and don’t have food for the week­end. Chil­dren, who are food in­se­cure, come to school hun­gry and have lower scores on stan­dard­ized tests than low-in­come chil­dren who ar­rive at school well feed.

“We want to change that by pro­vid­ing food for stu­dents for the week­end,” he said. “It takes stu­dents two days af­ter com­ing to school on Mon­day to get their bat­ter­ies charged up to start learn­ing. That is two days in the school week gone be­cause they didn’t get nu­tri­tion over the week­end.”

Food For Learn­ing has part­nered with Caro­line County Pub­lic Schools, MidShore Com­mu­nity Foun­da­tion and a num­ber of lo­cal busi­nesses, in­clud­ing the Denton Wal­mart.

To­gether, they have cre­ated a web­site with in­for­ma­tion about their mis­sion and a lo­ca­tion to make do­na­tions. The Food For Learn­ing web­site is www. car­o­line­food­for­learn­ing. org.

“We are ex­cited to be a part of this com­mu­nity ef­fort to raise funds to sup­port our back­pack and food pantry pro­grams in our schools,” said CCPS Di­rec­tor of Stu­dent Ser­vices Derek Sim­mons. “Food in­se­cu­rity is a real is­sue, and the ded­i­ca­tion of Food For Learn­ing to end it is in­spir­ing.”

The Food For Learn­ing Board of Direc­tors in­cludes Derek Sim­mons; John Phillips of Sisk Ful­fill­ment; Laura Pa­trick, Brent Fucts of Her­itage Fi­nan­cial Con­sul­tants; Rox­anne Wolfe; Steve Covey of Chop­tank Trans­port; Fred Spence of Prov­i­dent State Bank; Bill Duffy of the Denton Wal­mart; Ross Harper of Ridgely Po­lice Depart­ment; Jeff Pow­ell of Tow­ers Con­crete; Mike Asche of At­lantic Trac­tor; Dave Wha­ley; and Pas­tor Pete Smith.

“We got an out­pour­ing of sup­port from mem­bers of the com­mu­nity to get the or­ga­ni­za­tion go­ing,” Spence said. “An­gela Vis­in­tainer is do­ing our mar­ket­ing at no charge. She has done won­der­ful things for us.

“Our goal is to de­velop and pro­mote a car­ing en­vi­ron­ment for stu­dents,” he said. “We are proud to be work­ing with the Caro­line County Board of Ed­u­ca­tion and Caro­line County Pub­lic Schools. They do won­der­ful things for our stu­dents, and we want to as­sist them. We have a group of com­mit­ted vol­un­teers who want to im­prove on the so­cial well-be­ing of the stu­dents in this county.”

For more in­for­ma­tion about Food For Learn­ing, visit www.car­o­line­food­for learn­ing.org.

Fol­low Caro­line/ Dorch­ester Ed­i­tor Dustin Holt on Twit­ter @Dustin_ StarDem.

PHOTO BY DUSTIN HOLT

Caro­line County’s Food For Learn­ing board of direc­tors John Phillips of Sisk Ful­fill­ment; Laura Pa­trick, Brent Fucts of Her­itage Fi­nan­cial Con­sul­tants; Rox­anne Wolfe; Steve Covey of Chop­tank Tans­port; Fred Spence of Prov­i­dent State Bank; Bill Duffy of the Denton Wal­mart; and Ross Harper of Ridgely Po­lice Depart­ment.

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