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Metro State launches weekend food program for schools

6:04 PM, Mar 16, 2012   |    comments
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"You start getting headaches and you just start hurting," said Lawrence.

Fairview Elementary is located within the shadows of the Denver Broncos stadium. It is in a neighborhood where most kids come from low-income housing.

"We know still that many of our families don't eat," said Norma Giron, principal of Fairview Elementary. "It was amazing to me to find out how many kids were coming into our office - sick. Sick to their stomachs, sick with a headache, sick with this and that and finding out that the reason is they were hungry."

Giron says for a lot of her students, the only food they get is the food provided at school for breakfast and lunch. She says on the weekends many kids suffer.

"When you try to do your homework and you haven't ate, you get tired," said Lawrence.

That's why the Metropolitan State College of Denver teamed up with the Arvada Sunrise Rotary to create the "Food for Thought" program. Students and faculty from the school's Department of Hospitality, Tourism, and Events started a food bank on the Auraria Campus to help kids at Fairview Elementary and Columbian Elementary.

"In one month, we are able to go from idea to action to raise more than $45,000," said Dr. Michael Wray, professor and director of restaurant management at Metro State.

Wray says Mountain High Packaging donated a truck and supplies to help. First Bank helped with the packaging. Home Depot offered gift certificates so volunteers can purchase bins to deliver the food. Wray says they worked with the Food Bank of the Rockies to start this program at two schools near the Auraria Campus.

"It's part of our community outreach," said Wray. "What we want to do, particularly in our department, hospitality, is we need (college) students to be aware of their role in a responsible society."

They delivered a bag of food for every student. The bags contained juice, rice, noodles, and fruit.

"So, helping our children with food over the weekend to me has been a big dream," said Giron. "What I know is at least over the weekend, I don't have to worry about whether or not they had the food."

The "Food for Thought" program will provide food for students every weekend through the end of the school year. Wray says he wants to extend it through next year and is in the process of looking for more than $100,000 in donations to keep it going.

"Students that receive better nutrition are more prepared for thought," said Wray.

Lawrence says he's excited to take home his first food bag.

"We'll eat it all," said Lawrence. "So, we don't starve for the weekend."

(KUSA-TV © 2012 Multimedia Holdings Corporation)

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