No child should go hungry, yet food insecurity remains a big problem in this country. More than 22 million children receive free or reduced-price meals through the USDA’s National School Lunch and Breakfast programs. When the ending school bell rings each Friday, some children worry about where they’ll get their next meal.
PEC Member Services Agent Carolyn Machado was shocked when she heard about this issue from her son, a school teacher in Victoria. He then told her about his school’s partnership with the BackPack Program, which provides nutritious, easy-to-prepare foods for children at risk of going hungry on the weekends. Eager to help, Machado started sending donations to her son’s school in Victoria, but it wasn’t enough; she wanted to spread more awareness about the cause. Then it came to her: Why not call on PEC employees to help?
“I thought, ‘I’m going to bring cupcakes in appreciation for their donations, and I’ll call it Cupcakes for Canned Goods’,” Machado said.
Machado received some donated cupcakes from an H-E-B manager, then tied on her apron and baked more herself, with the aim of trading the cakes for employees’ donations.
The drive took place March 6 at PEC’s Johnson City headquarters, and the event’s success could not have been sweeter. Nearly 1,200 food items and more than $160 in donations were collected to feed children in need at five elementary schools: Crain Elementary in Victoria, Highland Lakes Elementary in Marble Falls, Marble Falls Elementary and two other local area schools Machado will select soon.
“I was very moved by the number of donations,” Machado gushed. “I work with the greatest group of people, and I put my faith in them. The response has been tremendous.”
But Machado hasn’t forgotten the bittersweet side to the drive: There are so many more children to feed. With her co-workers behind her, she is determined to continue taking on child hunger one donation at a time and is already planning another drive.
“Because kids are hungry year-round, I want to be their advocate year-round,” Machado said. “The fact that so many of our employees asked me when we were doing another Cupcakes for Canned Goods food drive so they could help again reassures my confidence in the wonderful people I work with and how we all want to help make a difference.”
To learn more about the BackPack Program and how you can get involved, visit www.feedingamerica.org.