Fight for food

One out of six children in KSD are suffering from hunger every day.

Bismah Syed

One out of six children in KSD are suffering from hunger every day.

One out of six children in KSD are suffering from hunger every day. That statistic is why KSD recently established their Nutrition On The Weekends program that provides food on the weekends for any KHS student in need.

This program has been developing for years and was tested at multiple Kirkwood schools before the launch, according to KHS Principal Dr. Michael Havener. It is largely run by donations from Generapolis, a company that helps various programs in the community through financial support from local businesses. 

KHS receives these donations through businesses offering items, such as clothing or coupons, for sale on the Generapolis website. All of the proceeds then go to the programs they choose to sponsor. 

“Generapolis chose to support nutrition on the weekends because of the one in six statistic about kids in the KSD going hungry,” Meghan Winegrad, Generapolis CEO, said. “A lot of people think Kirkwood is a very wealthy district, but by the numbers, the hunger issue [is still prevalent in this community]. Nobody wants to see children go hungry. The idea of being able to help childhood hunger and local business is amazing.”

According to Winegrad, partners were eager to join once they heard what the program was about. Some “companies who chose to sponsor the program through Generoplis’ website include, Sweetology, as well as many new businesses in downtown Kirkwood, such as the Shoelace Factory and Finders Keepers. 

“Kirkwood has been trying this program on a smaller scale,” Winegrad said. “As a district, Kirkwood saw this as an opportunity to level up on this program. They saw that there was need across the entire [school] system, so last summer they put out a call to action asking the Kirkwood community if they can help fund this program. The outpouring of support was overwhelming.”

The outpouring of support was overwhelming.”

— Meghan Winegrad

According to Ginger Cayce, KSD chief communications officer, the majority of the money to sustain the program was received from Generapolis and local businesses. The money used to cover the cost of the company was mostly donated through parents and students.

“[The fundraising] started in the spring of last year,” Cayce said. “We sent out an email to all parents and staff, and we also asked parents of seniors that if they had any money left in their lunch accounts if they would want to donate that to the Kirkwood School District. I would say 90% or more of them did that.”

According to Cayce, there was an outpouring of support on all ends of the spectrum when it came to donating. That teamwork is what is holding the Nutrition on the Weekends program together.

“I think that so many people are passionate about the program,” Cayce said. “Dr. Condon, our superintendent, said this last night: leveling the playing field begins with being secure and knowing that you have food to eat. It’s one of our basic necessities. We need to be able to focus on learning so that we can be successful academically and in life.”

On the KHS scale, this program has affected many students’ personal lives. According to Cayce KSD administrators have seen the effects first hand and are glad that KSD is changing it. 

“Seeing that hunger from KHS students, first hand, obviously is a sad feeling,” Havener said. “It’s a feeling like you want to help and make sure that people aren’t hungry, cold, that they have food, a coat, anything they would need. You just want to be helpful.”