Karen Strash, Soldotna Boys & Girls Clubhouse director, recently created a "Coin War," to help members of the After the Bell program at Soldotna Elementary school become aware of the needs in their local community.
After the Bell members of different age groups were encouraged to collect coins from parents, friends, or other sources and the group that produced the most got to go on a special swimming trip. The results of the Coin War were tabulated December 20th and the ammunition given to Peggy Moore, executive director of the Kenai Peninsula Food Bank. At an enthusiastic gathering, the members of the After the Bell program presented Moore with a hand made trophy check and a coin box containing $150 worth of change. The children were amazed and delighted to learn that their effort would provide 776 meals or 1,167 pounds of food for local people who didn't have enough to eat. Moore gave the attentive gathering a brief overview of the service provided at the Food Bank and of the needs in our local community. Moore explained to the children that our local Food Bank was part of a Second Harvest Network in Alaska so that they don't actually have to purchase the food, but pay a handling fee that covers the expense of transportation. The food given to the network is food that has been taken off the shelves of stores for sale, but is still good to eat, "So we actually get the food for free and the nine cents a pound is for the handling costs and that's why we are able to get so much food with this money. Keeping people from going hungry is a whole community effort," said Moore.
Karen Strash was very pleased with the overall learning experience for the children, "We'll try and get the whole school involved next year and we're going to do more, we're going to take everybody to the Food Bank in January and let them see the facility and how the soup kitchen operates and keep them aware of what is happening in the community," said Strash. Moore said that they serve some 1,400 meals a month and emphasized that while the needs of local people were greatest in the winter, the need to help people have enough to eat goes on 12 months a year at the Food Bank.
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