Why aren’t you serving the school nearby me? And can you start? Each school receives different types of assistance from the community and other organizations. Some schools are already being covered and others don’t have a need. We try to pinpoint the schools who have greatest need. If you are connected with a school and suspect that they could use assistance, please talk to the school administrator and have them contact us directly.
Who pays for the food? Because USANA covers all our operating costs, 100% of money donated to Kids Eat goes towards food. Corporate Sponsors, private foundations and members of the community work together to pay for the food that goes into the bags. Because of this, we take extra care in making sure the bags go where there truly is need.
Can kids pack bags? Kids age 8 and above can work on our pack line. We do offer a “kids pack line” for children ages 3-7. Please indicate on your signup that you will be bringing kids of this age so we can prepare the kids pack line prior to you coming. A parent is required to be with a child on the kids line at all times. (During Covid, we do NOT offer a kids packline or allow kids under age 7 in the packing facility)
Aren’t you enabling these kids by giving them food? We believe the kids who receive our bags are faced with extreme stress, adult level challenges and mounting opposition. Providing a basic need such as nutrition helps that child cope with those stresses in the best way they can. So yes, we do everything we can to enable them.
Can I pack bags on my own at home or at work? At- home packs are something we only offer once a year during our Holiday Bag Project. Details for this project are posted on the website in October. Large workplace or private organization packing events, done on your site, are called “Giftings”. They are supervised by our staff and are available with certain guidelines. Contact Kids Eat for more details and to schedule an event.
Do you have open walk-in hours? All our volunteer packing times are scheduled. See the website for volunteer opportunities and to sign up. We currently are not offering open pack times, due to inventory control.
How can I get involved? Donations are what provide the food that goes into the bags, and the more donations, the more new schools we can serve. Donations will help us grow and reach more kids! In addition, you can volunteer to pack bags or process food in our Kids Eat center. We offer offsite packing opportunities for large events, and sponsorship opportunities for those interested in adopting a school. Once a year we offer a do-at-home Holiday Bag Project. This is posted on our website in October.
Donations, volunteering signups, and even school sponsorships can all be found right on our website.
How does a corporate sponsorship work? We know how hard it can be to find ways to serve in the community on a corporate level. With this, the work is done for you. When USANA created the USANA Foundation years ago, it really has created a corporate culture that has brought our employees and associates together in a way that gives them ownership and pride in what WE are all doing together. This is something a lot of companies strive for, but it sometimes hard to attain. Joining with USANA Kids Eat is a way to fulfill social responsibility in the community, create a culture of caring within your organization, and provide an easy, hands-on service experience for your employees on a regular basis. Many corporations choose to adopt a specific school and create that connection with them. Others host gifting events at their place of business. We strive to find the right fit for each corporation that we work with.
How does the Adopt-a-School program work? For those wanting to get involved in a bigger, and more connected way, we offer the opportunity to adopt a school. This entails funding the weekend bags for a specific school or club for that school year. Optionally, an adoptive sponsor also has the opportunity to bring their family/corporation and pack those bags on a monthly basis. Whether you are a foundation, a corporation or just a family trying to teach their kids the importance of giving, this is a unique opportunity to make a meaningful community connection with the school you choose.
Is hunger a problem in the schools? School administrators and teachers regularly report of the effects they see in their classrooms. Kids who haven’t eaten breakfast (or dinner the night before) have a hard time concentrating, participating, doing their work, and being able to take tests. Many times a child will end up in the sick room, only for the school nurse to find that they just haven’t eaten in a while. A little food goes a long way when it comes to getting through the day
What are the circumstances of the kids who receive these bags? Each child comes from a different set of circumstances. Some are refugees making a new life here in Utah, others have come upon hard times when the parent becomes ill or passes away and the medical bills pile up, many are from single parent homes where the parent is working 3 jobs to make ends meet, and some struggle to get by in an abusive or dangerous situation at home. Although the circumstances are different, what these all have in common, is that none of these kids chose their circumstances, and all deal with the stress that comes from it.
If their situation is that bad, do you think a bag of food is going to really make a difference? We believe that providing a basic element for this child will make a difference in their ability to cope with their circumstances. They will, at least, be able to face their challenges with a clear mind, and fueled body.
Aren’t you worried about stigma or making the kids feel like they’re being singled out? Yes, depending on the school, some kids are more embarrassed to be taking a bag home. This is one of the reasons we work so closely with the school contact. In situations like this, we provide unmarked, black bags, that could easily be seen as athletic bags. We also encourage the schools to be mindful of this and find ways to distribute the bags in the most discrete way they can.
Do all those string bags end up in a landfill? Nope! Many are returned and reused. After that, we have a few options for recycling; one organization gives them to villages in Africa to use for work, school and daily life, and another program turns them into insulation. We are always looking for creative ways to recycle these bags, if you have any ideas, we’d love to hear them! (DURING COVID, families and schools are encouraged to keep the bags for their own use. We cannot accept used bags back during this time)
How do you choose who gets the bags? Each school goes through an onboarding process where numbers are calculated. We have a contact at each school we support. This contact is usually a counselor or outreach support person who knows the kids, their circumstances and their background. We trust this person to identify each child who needs food support and they give us that number. We provide the bags to that person each week, and they discretely give them to the kids on Fridays.
How do I volunteer? Sign up is easy on our website. If you are interested in something more specialized like warehouse work or driving our truck to deliver bags to the schools, please contact us directly for more details.
How can a school start receiving your food bags? When a school contacts us for assistance, we open an application with them and add them to our waiting list. As funding and sponsors become available, we are able to add them to our service. Each school goes through an onboarding process that includes a visit to the school and an orientation with us. We spend considerable time assessing the need of each school and prioritizing their aid based on timeframe, funding, support framework they can offer, current programs they are on, and of course, the amount of need.