Alumni step up to help feed students at local school district after food vendors drop out

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KANSAS CITY, Mo. – A local school district is struggling to supply food for students. It’s getting help from familiar faces.

When students in the Hickman Mills School District need help their alumni answer the call with the fight song.

Jason Smith is leading the charge. He graduated from Hickman Mills High School in 1994.

Although the high school has since closed, he and the rest of his class felt compelled to help the current 5,200 students.

“It’s my alma mater and I did OK graduating there,” Smith said. “I feel like why not contribute back to people who may need a little help to get there.”

There’s not a funding issue, it’s a problem with logistics.

The Hickman Mills School District is facing a food crisis after another one of its food vendors pulled out.

Several other districts are facing the same issue, like Independence, Park Hill and Liberty.

Marissa Wamble with Hickman Mills said their district is unique in that they are a 100% free and reduced lunch district.

They serve students breakfast, lunch and dinner at 11 schools.

“For some of our kids, if they don’t eat here, they don’t eat at all for the day. So, it was critical that we feed kids,” Wamble said. “So, we reached out to the community let them know what was happening. Some of our major needs were spoons forks, napkins, and of course food.”

Smith set up a GoFundMe. In five days they’ve raise more than $1,300. The goal is $5,000.

“The goal is to short term fund them, until they can find new distributors,” Smith said. “This is not a long-term process.”

People can drop off food items and supplies at the Hickman Mills Administration Center.

They’ve received a lot of boxes of granola bars, snack and a few drop-offs from large food companies.

The district said they’re OK on food for at least two weeks because of the generosity. After that, it’s up in the air.

Wamble said the nutrition services team is working hard to secure another vendor, but they’re all going through the same staffing shortages.

“As of right now there’s no end in sight,” Wamble said. “We are overwhelmed and just so grateful to the community.”

“The entire class of 1994, as well as, classes before me and after me have all contributed to this,” Smith said. “So, there’s a lot of people that are doing good things here.”

Smith said feeding the students, feeds his soul.

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