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A cause worth running after

The School Fuel organization prepares lunch bags for 557 elementary school children who suffer from food insecurity.
Photo by: Nathalie Cohetero | Staff Photographer

Child hunger is an issue that is affecting children across the nation, according to Feeding America’s research. However, School Fuel—a local volunteer-based organization—is urging people in the San Marcos area to join the fight against this issue.

There are currently 577 elementary students who are provided free and reduced meals throughout San Marcos CISD, leaving some families with little options to provide food for their children during the weekends.

School Fuel has been combating child hunger since 2013 by sending elementary school children home with two meals and four snacks for each day of the weekend.  For $215, School Fuel provides food for children who are at high-risk of little or no food at home during the entire school year.

“We are currently in four of the Elementary Schools here in San Marcos looking to add one more this next year, and eventually the long-term goal is to be in all the SMCISD schools,” said Shelby Hebert, School Fuel volunteer coordinator.

Over 75 percent of elementary school age children are already on reduced or free meals at school. The teachers and school administrators play an instrumental role in selecting the students who will be without food over the weekend.

With many kids in need for food, School Fuel provides various opportunities for the community to help the organization help students. Although donating financially, volunteering to pack food and sponsoring fundraisers are yearlong options, School fuel is hosting a unique event in March.

This year, School Fuel has organized its first 5k benefit run, Fill the Sack. Beginning at 8 a.m. on March 25, runners will gather at Country Estate’s Pool for a 5k and kids race.

“This will hopefully be the first of many,” said Jenny Mangrum, director for School Fuel. “This is another way of providing funds for the organization to buy more food.”

Children have no way of controlling whether food is coming into their home or not, and the organization hopes that the citizens of San Marcos will make the choice and support the fight against childhood hunger.

Generally, the organization relies on generous donations and funds acquired through the annual banquet and silent auction that is scheduled for May 16. However, with a goal of adding on 60 kids, the budget for the 2017-18 school year has been set at $140,000.

Registration for the 5k is open now and members of School Fuel encourage participation to fight against childhood hunger.

More information for registration details and deadlines can be found on the organizations website: http://www.schoolfuelsanmarcos.org/benefit-run