By: Shayley Swanson
The Brazos Valley Food Bank strives to alleviate hunger in the Brazos Valley by distributing food and educational resources to neighbors in need. Last year, 5,586,131 pounds of food were distributed to 52,914 individuals. Sadly, 42 percent of those in need were children.
Demand for food, especially fresh produce and frozen proteins, from the Brazos Valley Food Bank is higher than ever. The organization has also seen a growth in food donations but lacks the building space to support the growth. In order to raise money the remaining $1.125 million needed for the building’s expansion and capital campaign of $4.125 million, the Food Bank has partnered with Books and a Blanket to promote the Read to Feed: Read-A-Thon.
Books and a Blanket is a local non-profit with the goal of promoting literacy and wellbeing among young students. The idea originated with two sisters, who are avid readers. Maggie and Harper Cunningham saw a need in their school to provide books to kids who did not have books of their own.
When Maggie and Harper learned that if kids don’t read over the summer they could take up to three steps back in their reading level, the sisters wanted to find a way to prevent that from happening. The sisters also learned there was a need from The Brazos Valley Food Bank, so they decided to combine their goal of encouraging more summer reading and the food bank’s goal of expanding their building. Read to Feed was born.
“We want to do more than just feed people, we want to improve lives with nutrition,” says Theresa Mangapora, the executive director of the food bank. The food bank has recently launched a Nutrition Education Program where, “we provide tips to families on how to eat healthy on a limited budget,” says Mangapora. As part of the building expansion goals, the food bank will increase its cooler and freezer capacity by five times, thereby getting more fresh fruits and vegetables and frozen meats, the best food to combat chronic illnesses, to those in need.
The Read to Feed: Read-a-thon will run from June 15 to August 15. Kids are asked to keep a log of the books they read and ask for friends and family to support their reading efforts by pledging money on a sponsor form. At the end of the summer, the kids are asked to collect the pledges and turn in forms and money by August 15 to the Brazos Valley Food Bank by mail or in person. All proceeds benefit the Food Bank.
As Maggie says, “Every little bit counts.”
What: The Read to Feed: Read-a-thon
Hosted by: Books and a Blanket
Benefiting: Brazos Valley Food Bank
When: June 15 to August 15
How: Visit BooksAndABlanket.com for pledge forms and reading logs. At the end of the summer, the kids are asked to collect the pledges and turn in forms and money by August 15 to the Brazos Valley Food bank by mail or in person.