**Photo taken prior to social distancing and mask recommendations**
KIDSPAK IS LEADING THE CHARGE IN ORGANIZING FOOD DISTRIBUTION FOR STUDENTS 
Author: Maia Mattise-Lorenzen
During spring break, the KidsPak Executive Committee began planning how to distribute food bags to students in the Thompson School District during the COVID-19 social distancing restrictions. Their first food bag distribution took place on March 24th and has continued every week since. To date, they have distributed over 1900 bags of food to students in the Loveland and Berthoud communities. The KidsPak current plan is to distribute food bags to designated schools once a week on Fridays. Food distribution schedules will be posted on their Facebook page and website www.lovelandrotarykidspak.org
 
 
KidsPak has cancelled regular Wednesday packs until further notice to deal with the ever changing Covid-19 landscape. Until the social distancing restrictions change, KidsPak is taking the following steps to keep volunteers safe.

Only 10 people in the food share building at a time and volunteers are wearing gloves, masks and keeping a 6 foot distance from each other when packing. Drivers, warehouse helpers and food distribution volunteers are following the same protocols. In order to volunteer, KidsPak has reached out to our low risk community volunteers and have requested that they only volunteer if they do not fall into one of these categories:
  • Have been ill in the last 14 days with a temperature above 100 degrees
  • Are over the age of 60
  • Have a chronic medical condition such as heart, lung, kidney disease or diabetes 
Under the direction of Brittney Stephenson, students from the Loveland High School football team along with parents and siblings are helping pack 1,000 food bags each Sunday afternoon with the exception of Easter Sunday. KidsPak is very thankful to the wonderful community volunteers, which include students, teachers, TSD staff members and business leaders. Together the KidsPak program and all of the amazing volunteers are making a difference in the lives of hungry students in our community.
 
 
KidsPak has received a tremendous outpouring of support. Volunteers like Barbara Wilkinson and Theresa Rost have made cloth masks for our volunteers to wear in the coming weeks. 

Tayler Cabalka from Sweetwood Smokehouse in Steamboat Springs donated 11,400 packages of beef and turkey flavored snacks.The wholesale value of this donation is $15,000.  These snacks are now being included in weekly food bags.

KidsPak has applied for grants from various organizations. Recently, the Northern Colorado COVID-19 Response Fund issued a grant for $8,375 to KidsPak which will help us to purchase needed food for students. KidsPak received notification last week that the Volentine Foundation is making a $10,000 donation to help continue to meet the needs of students in the Thompson School District.

KidsPak also received a $27,300 donation thanks to Subaru of Loveland selecting Loveland Rotary KidsPak as their local charity during their Share the Love event last winter. To support efforts during this challenging time KidsPak also received a $2,500 donation from the Subaru Zone office in Denver.

Brett and Brittney Stephenson from Orchard Ace Hardware donated 50 bins to KidsPak and these are being used to help distribute food bags to various school locations.

Many individuals have made monetary donations through the website and since KidsPak is run 100% by volunteers, all donations will be used to purchase food for the food bags that will be distributed to the students in the Loveland and Berthoud communities.

Our sincere thanks to the individuals and businesses who are making it possible for KidsPak to continue our mission of providing weekend food bags to hungry students in the Thompson School District!

We are all in this together. Stay safe and healthy!