Business helping fight student hunger

Platte Valley Bank holding BackSnack program awareness event April 24


Platte County is widely viewed as a wonderful place to live and one of the best Counties in not only the state, but in the Midwest to raise children.

So how is it possible that thousands of County children may not be getting enough to eat at home?

Since 2009, the Northland Childhood Hunger Initiative (NCHI) has strived to provide an answer to that question as well as make sure those students do not receive their best — or even only — meals of the week at school. Founded by the Northland Community Foundation, NCHI has worked with Harvesters the last several years on its BackSnack program. Through the program, needy school children receive nutritious, child-friendly food to take home with them each weekend. Approximately 3,000 students — with more than 130 more on “waiting lists” — are being helped by the BackSnack program in the Northland, with a majority of those coming from southern Platte County or Clay County. Nearly 200 students in the Platte County R-3 School District are also being helped.

But area officials say a need exists in the West and North PlatteSchool Districts as well as continued need at Platte County R-3.

They also say funding for the BackSnack program — garnered mostly through individual and corporate donations — remains an on-going concern. To that end, one prominent area business is making a push to partner with the NCHI.

Platte Valley Bank will hold a community awareness meeting about childhood hunger and the BackSnack program at 1 p.m. April 24 at its Platte City branch and has also pledged its financial support to the program.

“We feel very strongly about this issue,” Platte Valley Bank Executive Vice President and Marketing Director Susan Baker said. “A hungry child is a hungry child no matter where they are. No child should go hungry.”

Baker said the meeting will include light refreshments and speakers from area school districts as well as NCHI spokespersons, including PlatteCity businessman and NCHI Board member Chris Donnelli and NCHI Executive Director Chris Evans.

Since its inception in 2004, the BackSnack program has grown to helping 13,000 children each week — approximately 935 of which are in Platte County school districts. That figure includes about 700 at Park Hill, 180 students at Platte County R-3, 30 students at North Platte and 20 students at West Platte. Donnelli said the program runs from October through the end of each school year for students primarily kindergarten through fifth grade.