How SLS Students Can Help ‘Fill in the Blanks’

How+SLS+Students+Can+Help+%27Fill+in+the+Blanks%27

Abby Thomas '23, Sports Editor

During the COVID-19 crisis, nonprofits are working overtime to help those in need. One organization, Filling in the Blanks, is providing essential help to children in our area. We, as a school, can help.

In 2013 Filling in the Blanks (FITB) started as a Fairfield County-based organization working to end childhood hunger.  Working with schools in Westchester and Fairfield counties, FITB provides children with weekend meal bags so that no kid is left hungry.  Many local students only receive steady meals at school (breakfast and lunch), so FITB ensures they stay healthy and fed even when they’re not at school. 

Since the COVID-19 pandemic has forced schools to close, local kids aren’t receiving the food from their schools that they depended on. Kristin Thomas, the Filling in the Blanks Grant Writer, said, “Those kids are already down 80% of their nutrition… And without the school being in session, it’s really hard to make sure every child is getting their food.”

Co-founder Shawnee Knight said, “We are increasing the number of kids we serve each week and have even recently added a preschool and took three schools off the waitlist.” Like most nonprofits right now, FITB is helping even more people than usual, and needs even more support. 

Filling in the Blanks’ other co-founder, Tina Kramer, said, “We started Filling in the Blanks… in 2013 when we realized that there were 33,000 children in Fairfield County that were food insecure. As mothers, the thought of our children going hungry was an unbearable thought and we wanted to take action and do something to help our local communities.” At the moment, FITB  feeds 2,500 children in 43 schools. 

Due to school closures, FITB has been working with the schools and the local town governments to find the best way to provide food for kids and families in need. Filling in the Blanks uses all proceeds to purchase food for the weekend meal bags. It costs $250 to feed a student for a full year and $5.25 for each weekend meal bag, and even a small contribution helps. 

As Kramer says, “SLS has always been an amazing community partner for FITB,” so let’s keep that up! In addition to monetary donations, which go toward feeding additional children and getting more schools off the waitlist, there are other valuable contributions that require only time and effort but still greatly help the organization. In fact, there are many ways that St. Luke’s students and families can help, even while practicing social distancing:

  1. Start a fundraiser online to help raise necessary funds to continue buying food for the program.
    1. Write why you are supporting the cause and set a goal to reach.
    2. Contact [email protected]  if you would like additional guidance.
  2. Follow FITB on social media and share/like posts — this helps to gain awareness about childhood hunger in local communities.
  3. Make a 10-second video and tell FITB why you like to help at FITB or why volunteering is important to you.
    1. Email to [email protected]
  4. Make a Cans 4 Kids TikTok with your friends and share on social media.  Remember to tag FITB so they can share your posts on their stories.

One of the most appealing and unique ways that students can help, as you can see above, is to create a Cans 4 Kids TikTok. Considering teenagers’ current obsession with TikTok, this is a simple, enjoyable way to raise awareness for Filling in the Blanks while having fun in quarantine.

If you want to find out more about Filling in the Blanks, check out their website here.