Posted by Leslie Breighner on Apr 03, 2019
Many of us take for granted that there will be food on the table every day; however, one out of every five PA households with children struggle with food insecurity. None of us likes to think that children go to bed hungry in the midst of Adams County’s agricultural abundance, but far too many children depend on free or reduced-price school lunches and breakfasts for nutrition. When those meals are not available, these children can go hungry.
Ruth’s Harvest Littlestown is a supplemental food backpack program for elementary children in the Littlestown Area School District. The program, funded entirely by donations, is offered to children in grades K through 5 who qualify for free/reduced lunch. Backpacks or plastic bags are packed and sent home each Friday with individual serving sized, shelf-stable breakfast and lunch items; fresh items are offered when available. The program is actually twofold: it meets the needs of children who are food-insecure each weekend and it offers items that are microwavable so that even children can prepare the meals.
This year, RH Littlestown serves 142 children each and every weekend and for all extended holiday breaks. In our fourth year, RH Littlestown will provide meals for approximately 96 days during this school year. So how does that add up? Last year, we supplied approximately 13,200 breakfast items, 13,200 lunch items, at least 20,000 fruits and vegetable servings, plus over 25,000 snacks and treats. That adds up to approximately 72,000 food items that went home with Littlestown students last school year. We also give away non-food items such as notebooks and pencils, winter gloves, chap stick, and Kleenex.   
Ruth’s Harvest is 100% volunteer-operated. Local churches and service organizations such as Rotary come to organize and pack bags each week. The program’s success rests on their generous help.