What is the Children’s Project?
This project is for children ages 3 to 12 that live in poverty and reside in DuPage and Kane Counties, IL. Currently over 700 children are enrolled in the Children’s Project. The goal of this program is to provide children and their families with food on a weekly basis to combat the pain of hunger and food insecurity. In addition to basic needs support, each child receives a large birthday box filled with gifts to celebrate their birthday. Children of school age receive school supplies and books, so they have the tools they need for success in the classroom.
Why does this project exist?
The cost of housing in these counties is one of the highest in the nation. Parents are working hard, but due to the high cost of living in these communities, families are stretched to the limit. The perfect storm of high rent, increased food costs, medical care, and steep gas prices make it next to impossible for the working poor to afford enough food to eat. Additional items such as birthday gifts, cake for a party, school supplies or Christmas presents are not possible for those living in poverty.
What is the goal of the Children’s Project?
It is our goal that children living in our community can go to bed with a full belly. We want to ensure children and their families have meals on the table every day to eat so they no longer fear hunger. The basic needs must be addressed, but we also believe children deserve to “be a kid” and have their birthday celebrated. The birthday box gives children an opportunity to create memories as they open their presents and have a party with their family and friends. School supplies and books are also included in their box and school supply kits are given prior to the start of the school year because all children need to have the tools to succeed in school. This program is focused on positively affecting children’s emotional wellbeing, learning, development and stimulating creativity and social interaction.
How does this project make a positive difference to children and their families?
Mothers and fathers express their gratitude on a weekly basis for the nutritious produce and groceries they pick up at the center. Through surveys we conducted with families we learned prior to being enrolled in the Children’s Project, 49% of parents went to bed hungry to provide for their kids; 29% of children went to bed hungry too. Having the ability to pick up groceries and make meals for their family has reduced the stress level parents are facing as they know their children are receiving proper nutrition.
The birthday boxes are a huge hit with the kids and their parents. The children get very excited when they receive their box filled with new toys, a game, stuffed animals, and new books. The parents love receiving the “party in a bag” which contains a cake mix to bake and everything to create a birthday party for their child. They experience the happiness that comes from knowing their child can have the same experiences as other children.
Your incredible support makes all this possible and it is an amazing experience to see firsthand the difference being made in the lives of children and their families.
We invite you to click here to see Thank You messages from families and how your loving acts are bringing so much joy to children.