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STOW: Overwhelming support from the community and beyond is allowing Bulldog Bags Inc. to reach junior high school students in the Stow-Munroe Falls school district this fall.
The grass-roots nonprofit group started in 2015 with the goal of providing every K-4 student on government-subsidized lunches with personal groceries to take home the final weekend of each month.
The timing coincides with a time when many struggling families are trying to make their final dollars stretch until their next paycheck, co-organizer Jan Mather said.
“It all started on a Friday when a new student at Echo Hills Elementary School approached his teacher to ask for his weekend bag of food.
“What bag of food?” the teacher asked.
The child’s family had just moved to town from Akron, where for years nonprofit programs have provided children who have access to government breakfast and lunch programs on school days with a few personal groceries to get them through the weekend.
The school’s counselor turned to the emergency food pantry at the United Methodist Church in Stow for temporary help, but two church members who have witnessed the need at the pantry growing in recent years took the request to heart.
Laura Root and Jan Mather began a campaign to copy the weekend food programs operated by other area districts, bolstered by research that shows the link between hunger and education performance.”
“Bulldog Bags Inc., a new non-profit in town, is helping to make sure local school children have plenty to eat.
Bulldog Bags are filled with food — two breakfasts, two lunches and two entrees — and will go home with qualifying students in the Stow-Munroe Falls school district on the last Friday of each month. The program is expected to begin Jan. 29 and spokesperson Laura Root noted the March bag will be distributed March 18 due to spring break.
“Many communities have this program,” Root said. “In the last couple years, school counselors have found it necessary to come to the food pantry at United Methodist Church [to get food for their students.]”
Root says the idea really took off after a student moved from Akron to Stow.
“He always got bag of food on Fridays and wanted to know where his food was,” she said.”
“On March 18, I joined several of my fellow Stow-Munroe Falls Kiwanians and members of the Stow-Munroe Falls Lions Club to jointly lend a hand packing the Bulldog Bags. This program, started by volunteers, supplies a bag of food to qualified district students in kindergarten through fourth grade one weekend a month, fulfilling a need for many families.
About 25 volunteers making trips around the tables of food items and filling the plastic bags made short order of getting close to 350 bags ready in under an hour. Bins of filled bags lined the hallway at Stow City Hall, waiting to be transported to the schools later that morning for delivery.”
Stow Sentry, January 22, 2017
A non-profit organization providing food for area children and a locally owned coffeehouse, both of which started operations just last year, have received a big boost in recognition.
Bulldog Bags Inc., which provides meals for qualified children in the school district, and Morning Owl Coffeehouse received the Stow and Munroe Falls mayor’s awards respectively at the Stow-Munroe Falls Chamber of Commerce’s 13th annual community business awards luncheon at Acker Moore Memorial Post on Jan. 17, 2017.