Thursday, January 12, 2017

Canton Golden Bear Packs

The Golden Bear Packs program at Canton Central School will soon be celebrating its third anniversary. The first 25 packs were sent home on February 12, 2013 with Banford Elementary School students who needed healthy food to eat over the weekend.

Did you know that over one-third of students in the Canton Central School district qualify for free or reduced lunch? That means, according to the USDA, that those families, if there are four people in the household, are earning less than $44,965 per year (for reduced lunch) or $31,590 per year (for free lunch). Maintaining a household budget is not easy with income levels such as these, and Canton CSD (as have several other districts in St. Lawrence County) has recognized that without a secure source of healthy food, children can't be expected to perform well in school. As one of the school counselors explained to NPR in 2014, "I think a lot of our students worry about kind of grownup problems ... whether it be money and food and heat, and those kinds of things."

The students who benefit from Golden Bear Packs receive 10 items of healthy food each Friday, including breakfast, lunch, snacks, juice boxes, fresh fruit and more. Everything from whole wheat crackers to canned pasta might find its way into a pack. But of course, a program like this depends on the generous donations of the community.

GardenShare and SLU Campus Kitchens are happy to be able to support Golden Bear Packs through our Martin Luther King Jr. Day of Service food drive on Monday, January 16th. Please visit the GardenShare website at to learn more about what food is needed, then take some time on Monday to collect food in your neighborhood and bring it to the collection van on Main Street in Canton (next to the Canton Municipal Building) between noon and 4pm. Help us make it a day on, not a day off!