On Wednesday, February 29th representatives from the McLennan County Hunger Coalition met with STARSâ€™s High school principal and students to donate $500 of a $1000 gift to be used for the purchase of healthy snacks and meals for students to eat while in school.Â Â STARS (Students That Are Reaching Success) Â Â is an alternative education school that assists students ages 16-21 in receiving their High school Diplomas.
STARS currently has 100 students enrolled in 3 sessions and has had over 400 graduates come through the program since its founding in 2002. There are also many students who attend STARS for a short time then return to their home campuses to graduate. Students who attend STARS have unique and complicated life situations that make it difficult for them to attend normal school sessions. STARS was created to help studentsâ€™ complete their graduation requirements in an individualized, helpful environment so they can earn their diplomas and progress towards college and/or employment.
While STARS is technically part of Waco ISD, STARS does not get funding for food. The STARS building is not equipped with a cafeteria or kitchen, only a microwave and heating skillet. Most food is purchased by teachers or staff with their own personal money. The McLennan County Hunger Coalition recognized the need for funding and has provided the STARS school with a $1000 donation to go towards the purchase of healthy snacks for students to eat during study and class sessions. Â The $1000 is part of a Valero Grant the Hunger Coalition received earlier this year to go towards efforts to combat child hunger .
In regards to how STARS would use the funds, STARS Principal Norma Moon said, â€œWe would utilize the funds to purchase snacks that would be appropriate for morning, afternoon, and evening students.Â Sometimes that would mean breakfast type items, such as lean pockets, fruit cups, juice, apples, oranges, Pop Tarts, nature/breakfast bars.Â We would continue purchasing peanut butter and cheese crackers; the kids enjoy these, and they are a healthy snack.Â We would also purchase cookies and other snacks that come in large size containers and share them as needed with students.Â We occasionally buy pizzas (at a discounted price) and $1 menu items from McDonald’s, as well as some candy.Â Currently we buy as we can, either through local support or the staffâ€™s personal funds.Â These funds would allow us to look at what we buy for snacks and make good, healthy choices (as much as we can) and ensure that these students Â are eating something so that they can do their work at school.
The Hunger Coalition is excited to see this money going towards a great cause and hopes to work with STARS more in the future.