November 2008 Progress Report

The Fuel Up at PHS launched on Thursday, October 2nd with a total of 20 children. Thanks to generous donors, we have been able to add three additional children to the program. There are currently 16 families, with a total of 23 children, being served each week by the Fuel Up program. There is, however, a "waiting list" of children that we would like to add to the program as soon as we have enough funds available to do so. We are very conservative about how many children are enrolled in the program, because we cannot think of anything worse than meeting this need for them on a weekly basis, then having to stop abruptly (or give less food than needed) because we lack the funds to continue.

100% reported that their child's privacy was being protected with regard to their participation in the program

Most of the parents reported that their children love the food they have been receiving from Fuel Up and many reported that they are able to share some of the food with other family members in the home. All of the families reported that the Fuel Up program is helping them save money. Most of the parents and teachers reported seeing positive changes in the students since the program began, especially improved self-esteem, better health/wellness, and improved academic performance. 100% of the families responded that they were glad they enrolled their children in the Fuel Up Program at Perry Harrison

100% of the Fuel Up volunteers responded that this is one of the most worthwhile things they do every week

One 2nd grade teacher reported that on Fridays, the children get to bring their own special snack to school (The other days of the week, a snack is provided for everyone). Bags go home with the students on Thursday afternoons, so that first Friday in October was the first time that one of the students was able to do bring something from home. She pulled her teacher aside and excitedly whispered, "Look! I have a special snack today! It's from Fuel Up!" The teacher noted that the self-esteem of this student has improved tremendously since the program began.

We have taken many measures to protect the anonymity of the students who are participating in Fuel Up, down to using very plain bags that are supposed to be tucked into the student's backpack when no one else is around. One day, a student was walking proudly down the hall with the Fuel Up bag on his/her shoulder. The Guidance Counselor pulled the student aside and asked if a backpack was needed to conceal the bag so no one would see it (We have some nice, new backpacks for this use). The student replied, "Now why would I be embarrassed that I'm getting all this good food?!" and headed down the hall to board the bus.

We ask the students to bring their Fuel Up bags and containers to school each Monday morning. One student who had forgotten to return the bag asked the teacher (with a great deal of concern) if they would still be able to get their food with no bag to be filled. The teacher told us the story to let us know how much the children depend on and look forward to getting their bags each week.

A 5th grade teacher told us that after the first time of packing the student's Fuel Up bag into their backpack, the student came to school the next day and asked, "Did you put all of that great food in my backpack?" There wasn't really time to explain at that point, so the teacher just nodded. She said that the student gave her the biggest hug ever and said, "Thank you! Thank you so much!"

We solicited input from teachers for improving the Fuel Up program and the suggestion we received overwhelmingly was "Add more children!"