Anchorage School Lunch Program

School Lunch Program

No Child Goes Hungry — Dare to Care

Nonprofit raises funds for kids without school lunches

by Jason Moore, KTUU Channel 2 News, Anchorage, Alaska
Wednesday, January 4, 2009

ANCHORAGE, Alaska -- The problem exists in almost every Anchorage school: kids showing up with no lunch, and no money for a hot lunch.

While some of them qualify for the National School Lunch Program, many don't. But thanks to the efforts of one mother from Chugiak, hundreds of students can focus on school and not an empty stomach.

Sabra Garrity was one of those kids when she grew up in Eagle River.

"Most kids look forward to eating lunch with their friends and going out to recess and I didn't have that to look forward to," Garrity said. "I had a friend in school named Katie and I used to lick the lid of her pudding top everyday at lunch and that's what I got for my lunch."

Chugiak parent Bettsie Wild became aware of the problem four years ago through her daughter Lena who was giving her lunch to a friend.

"I would share with her but then I would get in trouble and I would go tell my mom and ask for more food and try not to get in trouble," Lena said.

It exposed Wild to a problem much larger than she ever guessed, and she began to hear stories from the school staff.

"Finally, the older of the two girls comes in and dumps this handful of change on this lady's desk," Wild said. "She says, ‘This is the leftover of my Christmas money, can my sister and I please have lunch today.'"

Wild then created a nonprofit, Dare to Care, and started raising money. After serving 35 kids in her first year, she's now up to more than 600 in 18 schools district-wide.

"When a child is hungry, the last thing on their mind is learning, reading, writing, and arithmetic," said Susan Schmidt, principal at Chugiak Elementary. "Especially when their family is in crisis, and they may be under a lot of stress, and couple that with not eating right or not eating when you're hungry."

Dare to Care is holding its annual fundraising gala Saturday night at the Dena'ina Civic and Convention Center.

Wild said her ultimate goal is to take the program statewide to ensure no child goes hungry.

Reprinted Courtesy of KTUU Channel 2 News, Anchorage, Alaska

KTTU Photo 1

The problem exists in almost every Anchorage school: kids showing up with no lunch, and no money for a hot lunch. (Scott Jensen/KTUU-TV)

KTTU Photo 1

Wild created a nonprofit, Dare to Care, and started raising money. (Scott Jensen/KTUU-TV)

KTTU Photo 1

Chugiak parent Bettsie Wild became aware of the problem four years ago through her daughter Lena who was giving her lunch to a friend. (Scott Jensen/KTUU-TV)

KTTU Photo 1

Lena said she would share her lunch with a friend who didn't have one. (Scott Jensen/KTUU-TV)

KTTU Photo 1

After serving 35 kids in her first year, she's now up to more than 600 in 18 schools district-wide. (Scott Jensen/KTUU-TV)