express

CHILDREN’S EXPRESS

Around Grayson County, you’ll find many teachers who can tell you about a student who came to school on Monday, not reluctant to start the school week, but eager to get back to school after going through Friday evening, all day Saturday, and all-day Sunday without a square meal, or knowledge of a source for their next meal. Those children are the reason for Children’s Express.

Children’s Express is a program that functions under the wing of Grand Central Station (GCS). It began in 2013 as a program to feed children during the summer months, Thanksgiving, Christmas, and Spring Break holidays, to ensure that children in Grayson County do not go hungry.

February 2016, we expanded the program to include weekend lunches during the school year, The Backpack Food Program. A bag of healthy food is distributed to children on a weekly basis.

The Backpack Food Program is one of Children’s Express’ major initiatives to ensure that chronically hungry children in need have balanced, nutritious food they need to learn and grow. Backpacks are stocked with nutritious, child-friendly, easy-to-prepare food and distributed to children on the last day before the weekend. GCS provides food storage space, and numerous volunteers give of their time weekly to help stock shelves, pick up donated food from various businesses and churches, purchase food, assemble bags, and transport filled bags to schools to be distributed discretely to children’s backpacks. The identities of the students who participate in the Backpack Food Program are always kept confidential; adhering to this policy ensures that no student is identified for any reason. The bags of food are discretely placed in the designated child’s backpack, and no symbols are used to signify participants. In 2016, the Backpack Food Program grew from helping 100 children per week at two schools to

helping over 400 children a week at numerous schools, providing each a backpack full of food for the weekend. Each backpack is estimated to have over $10.00 retail value of food products, but the real value attributed to these children having week-long nutrition is beyond statistics. The sheer growth of the program, supported by the community’s efforts is evidence of the great need. No child should be left behind and no child should be hungry. The Children’s Express Backpack Food Program is feeding tomorrow’s future today.