“I didn’t realize how many children might be going home over the weekend with nothing or very little to eat,” said Debbie Keytack, the founder of Feed Our Little Jays.
Debbie Keytack said every child should look forward to the weekend. However, some students in the Conemaugh Valley School District don’t because they know there won’t be enough food at home.
That’s why Debbie and her two sisters formed the Feed Our Little Jays program, handing out food to students in need.
“Children don’t really go to school to learn, they go to school to eat. So that’s where it hit me in the heart, that I didn’t know that we had that need here.” said Keytack.
Each student gets enough food for breakfast, lunch, dinner and snacks for both Saturday and Sunday. Last week, the sisters gave out ten meals. This week, they’re packing 12. They purchase all the food themselves: around $10 a student each weekend.
The volunteers have been working with Conemaugh Valley School District leaders since January to finally get the program up-and-running last week.
The elementary school principal said there are a lot of families who don’t have enough money to buy the food they need.
“At last check, about 65 percent of families qualified for free or reduced lunch. So that tells us that there is a significant economic need within our district,” said Conemaugh Valley Elementary School Principal Becky Castiglione.
Debbie and her sisters hope the program continues to grow and that the community will donate money and food to help out.