During a PTO meeting back in 2012 at Centennial Academy of Fine Arts Education (formerly known as Centennial Elementary), concern was raised about the growing number of students whose only regular meals were those lunches provided by the school. Many of those students had very little food over the weekends and started the school week famished.
Learning of this alarming issue, a few of the moms from the school, along with Littleton Rotarian Dale Flowers began collecting food and providing bags of groceries to those select students whose families wished to receive the assistance. Arty's Friday Food Bag program was born and named after the school’s mascot, Arty the race horse icon commemorating the old Centennial Race Track which was located nearby.
The program was run by dedicated moms at the school and served between 20 and 30 students each school year. One mother ran the food bank out of her basement, but due to the growing needs of the school, moved into a larger space donated by the Centennial Lutheran Church.
The program continued to grow and it soon became apparent that the Centennial moms no longer had the volunteer or monetary resources to effectively maintain the program. That’s when, thanks to Dale Flowers, Littleton Rotary stepped in and volunteered to manage the Arty’s Friday Food Bag Program.
Utilizing grant funding from the Littleton Rotary Foundation, food from Open Arms Food Bank, food drives, public monetary donations, and volunteers from Littleton Rotary, each Thursday morning at 9am, volunteers gather at Centennial Lutheran Church to pack the bags of groceries containing enough food for six meals, including fresh fruit and milk. In just one hour’s time, all the bags are packed and ready to be delivered to Centennial Academy on Friday. The staff at Centennial discreetly handles the distribution to students.
From serving the needs of about 20 students at its beginning, Arty’s Friday Food Bag Program now reaches over 70 children in need and continues to grow. Volunteers are critical to the continued success of this much needed program. If you would like to volunteer one hour of your time, we’d love to have you join us in this effort.
To volunteer, click on the Arty's event date of your choice in the Upcoming Events column - left side of Home Page.