Bulldog Bags, Inc. grew out of a movement by members of the Stow-Munroe Falls community, including school district and city officials, who recognized that some children in the SMFCSD did not have adequate meals on the weekend.
Bulldog Bags, Inc. was incorporated and obtained its 501(c)3 status in 2015 to seek to reduce hunger on weekends for students in the SMFCSD by providing the students on the Federal Free and Reduced Lunch Program, or otherwise, qualified, with the nutritional equivalent of the Free and/or Reduced breakfasts and lunches that a child misses on the weekends.
Weekend food programs for students are designed to supplement the students’ educational process. The link between hunger and education is undeniable. Children who go hungry are more likely to exhibit higher levels of anxiety, irritability, hyperactivity, and aggression, which affect all-around school performance. Research has shown that children participating in weekend food programs achieve better test scores, improved reading skills, positive behavior, improve health, and increased attendance.
DURING THE PANDEMIC
FLEXIBILITY…that is the key to life during the pandemic!! Although originally designed to be a weekend food program, during this time of the pandemic, when school is being conducted non-traditionally to meet the students’ learning needs, as well as the state guidelines, Bulldog Bags, Inc. needed to be flexible in its service delivery of Bulldog Bags! In order for all students to receive their Bulldog Bags the same week, packing and delivery has been changed to Tuesdays, as of October 1st, 2020. The Bags will be distributed to MAROON A students on Tuesday, to GOLD students on Wednesday at their home schools, and MAROON B students on Thursday. Whenever the students receive their Bags of food, they will will provide extra food to meet the students’ needs.
PROGRAMS OF BULLDOG BAGS, INC.:
A Bulldog Bag is a bag of food that consists of breakfast and entree’ items, plus snacks, for the weekend. The items are nutritious, single serving size, easily opened and prepared, such an oatmeal packet, mac and cheese, canned fruit, raisins, etc. A personal care item, such as a toothbrush, toothpaste, or bar of soap, is included in the Bag. Bulldog Bags are provided to eligible children in grades K-11 in the SMFCSD TWO times a month.
Nutritional menus are prepared and food is obtained through a Network Partnership with the Akron-Canton Regional Food Bank, local food retailers, and food drives. Twelve to fifteen food items are packed by volunteers into heavyweight plastic bags, along with a personal care item. Bins of the packed “Bulldog Bags” are delivered by volunteers to the elementary, intermediate, middle, and high school buildings. School personnel distribute the Bulldog Bags to the children in a discreet manner to protect their privacy.
What’s A Bulldog Bag? video
High School: At the request of the counselors at the SMF High School, the Bulldog Cupboard was established in September 2016 to provide lunch items to hungry students who have been referred to them. During the pandemic, instead of the Bulldog Cupboard at the high school, Bulldog Bags, Inc. has provided nutritional snacks to key personnel to be distributed on request.
Kimpton: Again, at the request of the counselors at Kimpton Middle School, a Bulldog Cupboard was established with nutritious snacks and hygiene items in 2016. The items have been expanded to include lunch items. This is continuing during the pandemic.
The program began in the summer of 2018 to help families whose children are eligible for the Free and Reduced Meal Program to stretch their summer food budgets when the children are home from school all day. A Bulldog Box consisted of 10 meals/snacks in family-size portions. Families registered in a confidential manner for the Bulldog Boxes and picked them up 1 time in June, July, and August.
During the summer of 2020, in addition to non-perishables, fresh and frozen foods were provided, as well as some cleaning and sanitizing supplies. A monthly average of 91 families were assisted; these families were comprised of 190 adults and 174 children. A total of 363 Boxes were provided, with an average Box weight of 57# and an average retail value of $130.00. Thanks to the generosity of donors, 2 Bulldog Boxes were provided in August, due to the delay in the start of school. A total of 4 Bulldog Boxes….almost 21,200# of food and items were provided to families.