7Everyday Hero Sandy Stewart starts food program to help students

Food bags help families make it though the weekend

DENVER -- We would like to think this does not happen, but some children go to school hungry. There is simply not enough to eat at home.

But 7Everyday Hero Sandy Stewart has a solution that is helping kids and their families.

Stewart is a special educator who works with students with autism at the Denver Green School in southeast Denver.

About three years ago, she noticed students coming to school hungry. Approximately 65 percent of students in the

Virginia-Vale neighborhood around the school are in the free and reduced lunch program.

"There are a lot of people who used to be fine, and they used to be able to make it. And now all of a sudden it's like 'Wow, my rent is $200 more a month!' There is a definitely a big need for food for many families," said Stewart.

So, Stewart started a food pantry program at the school.

Each week, the students help her pack 100 food bags and fresh food baskets that children in need can take home each Friday to their families.

"The food is donated from Food Bank of the Rockies. And then we buy some of the other food from Food Bank of the Rockies with donations and grants," said Stewart. 

The food program provides families with food to make it through the weekend. And it also provides a valuable life lesson for the students.

"Right now, it is teaching me hard work and how to do work for people besides myself," said Mateo, 5th Grade.

"A lot of the friends I have who do get food bags are very grateful for Miss. Sandy and everyone that helps," said Jenesis, 5th Grade.

"I think it is very good to think about other people, because some other people don't have what we have," said Acen, 4th Grade.

Hunger shouldn't be a problem that children have to worry about, but many do.

"I realize how hard the parents work and they need to pay the rent and stuff," added Acen.

"They will notice the food is going down and they'll say, 'Are you picking up another order of food this week?'

Because it makes them nervous," said Stewart.

This effort provides about 230 families with food every week of the year.

"It just makes the kids feel good, I think," said Stewart.

"Me and my family thinks this is a blessing for us," said Acen.

It is a blessing started by Sandy Stewart that is making a difference for hundreds of families.

When Denver7 asked little Acen what he thought about the food, his face lit-up in a smile and he said: "It's fresh food and I like it!" 

Mitch Jelniker anchors Denver7 in the mornings from 4:30 to 7 a.m. He also features a different 7Everyday Hero each week on 7NEWS. Follow Mitch on Facebook and Twitter. Nominate a 7Everyday Hero here.
 
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