Leeds Elementary School students receive shelf-stable food on days when school is not in session through a ministry of Wesley United Methodist Church in Sioux City called Food Fight 4 Kids.
While the Food Bank of Siouxland conducts a backpack program for six urban elementary schools in the area, limited funding has kept Leeds Elementary School students from being included. More than 60% of their population (402 students) receive free or reduced lunches. In the 2011-2012 school year, 23% of students were enrolled in English Language Learners classes and more than 40% of students were racial ethnic minorities.
Wesley UMC hosted a community panel discussion in October 2011 to identify community needs. Food insecurity was identified as the number one issue facing their area. The goal of the project is to help students “reach their full potential regardless of the circumstances of their lives,” writes Christy Cook, the co-chair of Food Fight 4 Kids.
Partners in this ministry include volunteers from Wesley UMC, Leeds staff and PTA, and students from Briar Cliff University. A Northwest District Matthew 25 grant, which is made possible through apportionment gifts of United Methodist churches throughout Iowa, has provided financial support.