Moms Taking Action to feed hungry kids

By Anna Carrera

Published 02/26 2014 06:13PM

Updated 03/11 2014 09:54AM

Update: 5:10 pm, 3/10/14, Monday
CHAMPAIGN -- Two area moms are doing what they can to fill a need. They saw hungry kids at school and wanted to help. Jenelle Keene and Ann Kirkland join us from Feeding Our Kids.

To donate: Contact the Robeson PTA.
For checks, put Feeding Our Kids in the memo line.
Original: 6:13 pm, 2/26/14, Wednesday
CHAMPAIGN -- Two area moms are trying to fill a need. They saw hungry kids sitting side-by-side with their own in class. So they're Taking Action to give those kids something to eat. WCIA-3's Anna Carrera has more.

Many of those kids already get free or reduced-price lunches at school. After the kids go home for the weekend, they're no way to tell whether they have food to eat there, so, without even knowing which kids they're helping, they're putting their effort into making sure no one goes hungry.

Down in the basement of the Champaign Church of Christ, you'll find moms making lunches, like moms usually do. But, these aren't for their own kids.

"As a community, I just felt like we have to step up," said Jenelle Keene. "We have to address this."

Childhood hunger is a problem Keene first noticed when she chaperoned a field trip to the Decatur Zoo.

"A little girl wanted to take her food home," said Keene. "The teacher wanted me to keep the food for her and give it back to her at the end of the day. It even came out later that the food wasn't for her. She wanted to help feed her baby sister."

The thought of children who were that hungry sharing classes with hers seemed surreal, so she wanted to do something about it.

"We're moms," said Keene. "We're all moms. That's why we're here. So, for us, it wasn't even about numbers."

But, the numbers speak for themselves. Keene looked at home many students in Champaign schools ate free or reduced-price lunches. More than half the kids at Robeson where her kids go to school. It's a similar situation at Westview. That number jumps to 75% at Kenwood and 79% at Stratton.

"If a small bag of food can kind of push them in the right direction to get going there, that's not very much to ask. I don't think," said Ann Kirkland, who started the organization with Keene. 

So, that's their goal. About two meals worth of food, individually wrapped and kid-sized to tide them over for the weekend.

"To be able to get the kids food, that's the only way we're able to do it," said Kirkland. 

For next month, their list of kids is 155 names long, so as long as there are mouths to feed, these moms plan to be there to help.

"This is already so much bigger than I think we ever thought it would be," said Keene. 

The program, Feeding our Kids, is anonymous, so they don't know who they're helping.

They're in the running for a $2,000 prize from Mike Williams Heating and Air. They need to get the most Facebook "likes" by the end of the month to be the winning non-profit group.

For more information about the group, click here.
To find the link to vote for them, click here.

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