Volunteers makes sure students have food

Hero organizes other volunteers to help students

DENVER - Thousands of Colorado children who often do not eat before or after school. They are either homeless or their families just cannot afford regular meals.

This week's 7Everyday Hero, Gerry Lake, is leading the community in Fort Collins to end hunger among school-aged children.

She runs a program called Mcbackpack. It is a play on the Federal McKinney Act that helps homeless school children and because the first sack of food is delivered in a backpack.

"All of our schools are having more issues with the economy and the way things are right now. I think that without these people here, there would be a lot of kids going hungry on weekends," said Cathy Kipp, a Poudre School Board member.

Lake started the project nearly five years ago in her garage with just five food bags.

"As of today we have packed and delivered this school year 6,267 bags!" said Lake.

The First Presbyterian Church of Fort Collins provides the space; the Larimer County Food Bank provides much of the food; teachers and counselors discreetly identify the kids in need; and more than 40 volunteers sack, pack, and deliver the food.

"They keep telling me they are having fun, which just amazes me. I have to get out of their way. They really work hard," said Lake.

"My mom was a special ed teacher for many, many years in Harlem, New York," said Ann Randall, Lake's daughter. "She would have kids, who by the end of the month, they would run out of food, and they would run out of food stamps, and they would come to school crying."

"I had kids coming to school who were hungry! And that shouldn't be, and I feel that way now. So, Saturday night we sit down to eat, and almost all of us feel this way, maybe 1,000 people are eating because of us on Thursday morning. And it's worth it!" said Lake.

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