ALBEMARLE COUNTY, Va. (CBS19 NEWS) — A local businessman is stepping in to provide Albemarle County students the meals they need to stay healthy outside of the classroom.
Paul Flick’s nonprofit, called Kids-Lift, is supporting a dozen students in need at Stone-Robinson Elementary School and another Albemarle school. It provides the students with backpacks full of food to take home for the weekend.
Flick is also making 50,000 nutritious snacks available for students in 13 different county schools throughout the year.
He said he started the nonprofit two years ago because of his daughter.
“From the start, it was driven by my daughter, who has Chromosome 18,” Flick said. “I wanted her to have a purpose.”
With these projects, Flick hopes he can help students and their families who are struggling financially.
“There are different economic means that families have and if we can help supplement or provide some additional nutrition for the families that can’t afford it during a child’s significant years of development,” he said. “That’s something we are able to do and we look forward to it.”
Lauren Otto, a family support worker at Stone-Robinson Elementary School, said food insecurity could be a huge issue.
Otto said 4,000 students qualify for free and reduced lunch. However, she said this number could be higher because of the families that don’t apply for help.
Otto said the snacks and backpacks could help fill an achievement gap between nutrition and learning.
“The school day is long and kids are going home and if there’s any type of food insecurity issues, as you can imagine that’s such a basic need,” she said. “So then to come to school and expect kids to focus and be able to attend can be a huge challenge for them.”
With every backpack, Flick hopes to take this food insecurity challenge off of a student’s plate so they can focus on their success inside the classroom.
“I was lucky enough to have parents that were able to provide meals,” Flick said. “If we can supplement some child’s nutrition, then we’re in a position to do so and we’re happy to do it.”
Kids-Lift will also be supporting Stone-Robinson Elementary School’s canned food drive on Saturday morning.
They will be accepting donations from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the Giant on Pantops and the Kroger on the corner of Emmet Street and Hydraulic Road.
If you would like to learn more about Kids-Lift, you can click on the link in the Related Links box.