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Daily Camera | Jan 20, 2015
Longmont nonprofit plans weekend meal program expansion for students | Whole Foods donation nearly enough to double IncrEdibles program in SVVSD
By Whitney Bryen- Staff Writer

Longmont-based nonprofit Colorado Friendship aims to expand its weekend meal program for students across the St. Vrain Valley School District this year following a donation from Whole Foods.


 

Longmont-based nonprofit Colorado Friendship aims to expand its weekend meal program for students across the St. Vrain Valley School District this year following a donation from Whole Foods.

While the federal free and reduced lunch program provides meals to low-income students during the week, the IncrEdibles program provides nutritious snacks and meals to sustain students on the weekends.

Teachers and principals choose the students of highest need in the school for the program.

There are currently 50 students at Rocky Mountain Elementary School and 50 at NorthRidge Elementary School receiving the assistance. But a $17,000 donation from Boulder County Whole Foods stores will allow Colorado Friendship to nearly double its reach, said executive director Liz Friedenson.

The four Boulder County Whole Foods stores hosted a community giving day in December donating 5 percent of the day's sales to Colorado Friendship.

The IncrEdibles program costs about $10,000 per school and provides weekend meals for 50 students for one academic year, Friedenson said. The donation will nearly cover the launch of two new IncrEdibles programs in SVVSD schools this year, one in the spring and another in the fall, she said.

Friedenson did not want to release the names of the schools that may be getting the program because the details are still being discussed, she said.

IncrEdibles staff would like to expand the program to Boulder Valley schools next year, said director of development Jeff Grossberg.

For now, staff is focused on the area with greatest need, which Friedenson said, is Longmont.

"Longmont is not receiving as much help in other places," Friedenson said. "There are other programs that help fill this kind of gap but most of them are not in Longmont."

Colorado Friendship NorthRidge Elementary Third graders have lunch at NorthRidge Elementary School Tuesday. Colorado Friendship's IncrEdibles program provides 50 NorthRidge students who qualify for free and reduced lunch with weekend meals. (Lewis Geyer / Longmont Times-Call)

Community FoodShare offers the Feeding Families program that provides supplemental food on a weekly basis to families in Boulder and Broomfield Counties that qualify for free school lunches, said Terry Tedeschi, the Louisville-based nonprofit's development director.

The program allows families to shop in a grocery store setting at the Louisville location, which can be inconvenient for Longmont residents who can't afford to travel that far each week, Friedenson said.

"For low income families, time and transportation is often a challenge," Friedenson said. "It's not always realistic for them to travel that far to get that food every week. It's still a challenge for Boulder residents to get there too but it's more realistic for them with public transportation options."

NorthRidge Elementary principal Lorynda Sampson has seen a significant improvement in students receiving the weekend meal packs since the IncrEdibles program came to her school in the spring.

Teachers are reporting that the students are more alert and attentive on Monday's, Sampson said, after having nutritious meals over the weekend.

"They come to school with energy on Mondays instead of lethargic or grouchy," Sampson said.

Sampson would like to see the program expand to 100 students at NorthRidge, which she said, would reach the students with the greatest need.

Whitney Bryen: 303-684-5274, wbryen@times-call.com or twitter.com/soonerreporter

 
 
Colorado FriendShip | Longmont, CO | 303-545-0242 | info@ColoradoFriendShip.org