Summer can be a stressful time for families on a budget, and as school districts across Texoma host free summer lunch programs, some community members in Burkburnett took matters into their own hands to help students.
For the second year “Paws for a Cause” volunteers are bagging up weekly sack lunches at River Assembly of God and delivering them on Mondays. It’s all to help ensure no child goes hungry.
After identifying a need in her community, Burkburnett school teacher Ashley Battista, gathered a few friends and started “Paws for a Cause”.
“I was scrolling through Facebook last year and I saw that Iowa Park had started a program “Hawks Fighting Hunger” and it intrigued me that there were kids obviously going hungry in the summer and that there was something we could do,” Coordinator Ashley Battista said.
Once Battista received the information needed to launch this program, she supplied lunches to 35 children in Burkburnett ISD by the end of the summer.
One of those children was Nicholas Maxwell.
“This is actually so convenient for me because sometimes we don’t have food and I like them bringing me lunches,” Maxwell said.
Battista added while the Burkburnett Independent School District does provide free meals not everyone can participate.
“Burk does offer a feeding program in June they can go up to the middle school and eat for free however it ends at the end of June so there’s nothing in July and there’s also children who don’t have transportation to get up to the school, so we were trying to bridge that gap and making sure that the kids are not going hungry,” Battista said.
Children within the school district sign up and receive two bags containing sandwiches, chips, drinks, sweets and more, all delivered to their doorsteps every Monday during the summer.
“Everyone falls on hard times and I’m just glad that we’re just able to be there and pick that up, so they don’t have to worry about their child getting their next meal,” Battista said.
While Battista and volunteers touch the lives of these children, it’s also a lesson learned.
“It teaches me if I have extra food, I give it to the homeless or whoever needs it,” Maxwell said.
“Paws for a Cause” now has about 60 children signed up to receive lunches this year.
Students still have time to sign up for this service. The only requirement are they have to be a student in Burkburnett ISD between the ages of three and 18.
They are always looking for donations and volunteers, Contact Ashley Battista by phone: 950-704-4481 or follow this link.