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Times-Call | February 15, 2014
Longmont program provides weekend meals for students IncrEdibles program feeding 56 Rocky Mountain Elementary students, looking to expand
By Whitney Bryen Times-Call staff writer

About 90 percent of the students at Rocky Mountain Elementary School in Longmont receive free meals through the free and reduced lunch program. But for some students that is not enough.

The federal program provides qualified students with free breakfast, lunch and a snack at school, but students and families are on their own on the weekends.

"Most of our kids get some free food support here or outside of school," Rocky Mountain Elementary principal Stephen Hoel said. "But ... there's a group that is still needing beyond the public support they receive already."

Longmont-based nonprofit Colorado FriendShip has been filling that gap for students with the greatest need this school year with their food backpack program IncrEdibles.

IncrEdibles provides students with bags of food to sustain them throughout the weekend, said Liz Friedenson, executive director for Colorado FriendShip.

Each package costs about $5 and includes two breakfasts, two lunches, two snacks, two juice boxes, two fruits and two vegetables.

Volunteers try to include nutritious food when possible, but kid-friendly packaging and preparation takes precedent, Friedenson said.

"The program is focused on taking care of just the kids, not the parents," Friedenson said. "We're including items that are easy to open and prepare for kids because a lot of them are on their own."

Colorado FriendShip, a nonprofit that provides food and clothing to Boulder County's low-income and homeless, launched the program last spring with 48 students at Rocky Mountain Elementary. This year, they expanded to 56 students at the school, and they are hoping additional support will take the program to other schools in the St. Vrain Valley School District.

In the district's schools, 32 percent of the students qualify for free lunches and another 6 percent qualify for reduced-price lunches.

Students are nominated for the program by their teachers, Hoel said.

The program is seeking donors to support the expansion and volunteers to help shop and stuff the bags, Friedenson said.

"We'd like to double the program," she said.

Colorado FriendShip | Longmont, CO | 303-545-0242 |