Pointer Packs provide food donations to students in need

West Point Elementary School students in need of a helping hand need look no further than their school's Pointer Pack program.

Pointer Packs are bags of donated food given to elementary school students in need to ensure they have food for the weekend, said Pamela Kosmowski, a West Point schools counselor and coordinator for the program.

When the program started five years ago, 15 students took advantage of the service. More than 60 students were enrolled last year and this year around 30 students take the plastic grocery bags of food home every Friday, and a bump in enrollment is expected after the holidays, Kosmowski said.

The program requires parents fill out a form to enroll a child, but there aren't restrictions based on income or other factors, Kosmowski said.

"If you feel you have a need, you automatically receive food," she said.

The grocery bags of food are placed in elementary school students' lockers or backpacks on Fridays before classes end. The food items in the bags are items that are either ready-to-eat or require minimal preparation that young children can handle. Items include water bottles, canned fruits, Pop-Tarts and popcorn, Kosmowski said.

Food is gathered through various avenues, such as collection drives by West Point's National Honor Society and West Point United Methodist Church. The church is a key coordinator in the program, as it prepares the bags in addition to collecting food, Kosmowski said.

Food and money contributions from parents of students not enrolled in the program are another way resources are gathered for the program, Kosmowski said.

While the program only operates at the elementary school, Kosmowski would like to expand it to the middle school, though currently there aren't enough resources to make the expansion.

The program runs throughout the school year, and program forms are sent home with students at the beginning of the academic year and again earlier this month. Forms are available at the elementary school front office as well.

Jacobs can be reached by phone at 757-298-6007.

Pointer Packs

For more information regarding enrollment, call 804-843-2030.

For more information regarding donations or volunteering with the program, call 804-843-4462.

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