Snack Pack Program
The Snack Pack program at Roseburg School District began 16 years ago in an effort to increase attendance and health among students experiencing homelessness. The district’s former homeless student liaison, Juliana Marez, noticed patterns of poor attendance among students dealing with homelessness and poverty, especially during the coldest months, as well as on Fridays and Mondays.
Marez interviewed several of these students and learned that these months and days were when they were the hungriest. They often didn’t attend school because they were searching for food, sometimes getting into trouble in the process. Hunger kept them from concentrating on their schoolwork, and many were worried about having enough to eat over the weekends.
Marez and partners, with what is now known as the Community United Resource Network, began working together to collect and provide healthy snacks for these students. For many years now, students have been checking in with a trusted adult each Friday at school and receiving snacks to help tide them over on weekends. Their attendance has improved on Fridays and Mondays, and even in the coldest months.
Several partners, including lead organization First Presbyterian Church, have assisted with this program over the years, and it continues today. Partners gather about four times a year to pack hundreds of bags with snacks to be distributed throughout the year.
Partners have included: First Presbyterian; Community United Resource Network; United Community Action Network; Cow Creek Band of Umpqua Tribe of Indians; Charlie Company of the National Guard; Seventh Day Adventist Church; First Methodist Church; Faith Lutheran; Redeemer’s Fellowship; Fred Meyer; and Sodexo.
Any organization or individual who is interested in donating to help feed children experiencing hunger, homelessness and poverty in our community can donate funds to the First Presbyterian church's Deacon fund, which is used to purchase the snacks for this program.