DAYTON, Ohio (WDTN) – Kids are often told to eat their food so they can grow up big and strong, but The Foodbank in Dayton believes emotional support is just as important for healthy growth as nutritious meals. That’s why outreach lead at the organization, Caitlyn McIntosh, said they’ve decided to give children both, through their Good-to-Go backpack program.
“The Good-to-Go backpack program is a weekly program here in the Dayton area,” she said. “We serve K-3 students in Dayton area schools. It’s just a clear sack of food that gets sent home with the kids on Fridays that is aimed to get them through the weekends.”
The bags include nutritious items like milk, cereal and other non-perishables to feed their bellies, but program manager, Katie Ly, said community members can help feed the children’s spirits as well.
“I think the notes are really important because it helps their self-esteem,” Ly explained. “It also lets them know that someone outside of their immediate community cares about them. And a lot of times, the notes are pretty fun. Usually they may include a joke, so [it] kind of lightens the mood.”
Everyone in the community is welcome to send a message that will put a smile on a child’s face for free and without the risk of spreading COVID. McIntosh said volunteers should just be sure all messages are appropriate and kid-friendly.
“[It can be] anything positive, like ‘You’re a rock star, or superstar,’ or anything funny if you want to put it in a nice, kid-friendly joke. The only thing we try to avoid is religious messaging, things like that. Try to keep them short [and] sweet. Watch out for grammar and things like that.”
Notes can be mailed directly to the Foodbank and addressed to the program manager, Katie Ly, or emailed to firstname.lastname@example.org.