’s Key Club is launching a food drive on Saturday, Feb. 25, to support the program at nearby , which provides essential nutrition for low-income kids on weekends.
Most of those Keller students participate in the school’s free lunch program during weekdays, and two years ago teachers, counselors and neighborhood volunteers started the backpack program to make sure the kids had plenty to eat on weekends. In north Juanita, Keller has one of the highest proportion of children from low-income families in the Lake Washington School District, and is one of the most diverse ethnically.
“It is an extremely important program for the kids, the school and the community, and for the Key Club to take this on, it’s pretty wonderful,” said Concha Lapuente, a counselor at Keller. “It’s fabulous the Key Club is doing this.”
Elisa Tran, 18, president of the Juanita High Key Club, a service group of about 20 students affiliated with the , said volunteers will be collecting donations of non-perishable foods from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. outside the and Safeway stores.
She said the Key Club helped out in an earlier food drive for the Backpack for Hunger program, and found it rewarding. Recently, the club’s Kiwanis advisor asked the group to take on the whole thing.
“It was fun, and now actually the whole thing is too,” she said. “I’m in the process of finding volunteers for each two-hour shifts, so I’ve opened it up to the Honor Society.”
As the number of homeless students has increased in the Lake Washington School District -- from 119 students during the 2009-10 school year to 177 last school year -- so has the Backpack for Hunger program grown.
The program is anonymous and open to all. If you need to participate or know someone who could use the help, see the Keller PTA web pages here. You can find information on helping out or making donations there as well, or by contacting Lapuente at 425-936-2580; firstname.lastname@example.org.