The Food 4 Kids program at Harborside Elementary School in Chula Vista is set up to assist hungry children. According to school nurse Maia Higgins, some of the signs of chronic hunger are dry lips, tired eyes, and thinness. Other signs are children who are always running to the front of the lunch line or always asking for seconds.
According to Higgins, the children are referred to the program by the principal or teachers. Participants come to the nurse’s office every Friday and have their backpacks stuffed with food that does not require cooking: peanut butter, granola bars, raisins, juice, and shelf-stable milk.
Higgins said attendance is up on Fridays among the Food 4 Kids group. She said the students are proud that they can take home food for their families.
The program provides food for 25 children; however, through a city grant, school administrators hope to extend the program. Donations of $8.19 will fill one Friday pack.
Vanessa Franco, who is coordinator of the program through San Diego Food Bank, says chronic hunger is on the rise in Chula Vista. She said job loss and foreclosures have contributed to the problem. Franco said the food bank also provides food for 1000 seniors in Chula Vista.
Food is distributed on the second Wednesday of every month from 9 a.m to 12 p.m at 1355 Third Avenue.