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“No Child Goes Hungry”
Mission Statement: Dare to Care, Inc. is dedicated to ensuring that no child goes hungry in our schools. Dare to Care facilitates private, corporate, and individual funding to provide breakfast and lunch to children-in-need identified by school personnel.
Infrastructure: Dare to Care is a nonprofit corporation with a board of directors from the medical, dental, real estate, legal, promotional, and sales communities. Dare to Care is a project fund under the Alaska Community Foundation and has 501(c)(3) designation.
About Dare to Care: Dare to Care was developed to provide food to children in need within our schools. Dare to Care is not intended to replace federal free and reduced-fee meal programs, but rather to help those children who for various reasons are failing to receive those benefits and, therefore, are not eating. Some students may qualify for reduced-fee meals but do not have the $0.30 for breakfast or the $0.40 for lunch required under that program. Other children may be abused or neglected. Sadly, some abusers withhold food as a means of control. Alaska is number one in the nation for reported cases of child abuse and neglect. In fact, Alaska is 26% higher then the next state in line.
Teachers, nurses, counselors, principals and cafeteria managers identify students based on their chronic hunger, their lack of a bag lunch, or their inability to charge a meal due to an already existing excessive charge balance. School staff members notify Dare to Care of the need in their school, and Dare provides the school with funds for food accounts to be set up in the names of those students identified. The accounts are monitored and replenished as needed. Some students may need help for a week – others may need help for months or even the whole school year. Although there are other programs which provide meals to children-in-need, these programs are before and after school and do not provide meals during the school day. Another concern is that these other programs are not offered at all schools.
Dare to Care estimates that approximately $250,000 is needed to feed the over two thousand students identified as children-in-need for an entire school year. Some schools may only have a couple of students who need this assistance – but a majority of the schools have 15 to 30 students identified! ASD has twenty-seven Title 1 schools with 50%-100% of their students below the federal poverty level. Some of these students often don’t eat unless staff members take it upon themselves to pay for the child’s food, something many teachers, nurses, and principals do quite frequently. To fulfill the yearly need in the Title 1 schools alone, Dare to Care will need and estimated $125,000.
Our schools are maxed out financially and it is not their responsibility to “feed” our children. It’s their job to “educate” them. But how can we expect children to learn when they are fighting hunger knots in their stomachs and the consuming thoughts of where their next meal will come from? Dare to Care wants to help ensure these children have access to food and take away at least one barrier to their education. The federal government has developed the national slogan “No Child Left Behind” in terms of educating our children. Dare to Care’s slogan is “No Child Goes Hungry.”
Funding Sources: To date Dare to Care has generated funding through community events and from individual and corporate donors. Future funding will be sought from private and corporate sources, as well as at community and school events. As this is a new program, statistics and financial estimates are being calculated and adjusted as we incorporate new schools into the program.
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