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Stateline families search for food security

What may only cost you a few dollars can be the difference in a child’s life.
Rock River Valley Pantry accepts peanut butter and jelly donations
Rock River Valley Pantry accepts peanut butter and jelly donations(Stephanie Quirk)
Published: May. 22, 2022 at 9:25 PM CDT
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ROCKFORD, Ill. (WIFR) - Hundreds of families across Winnebago County rely on school meals to make sure their children are fed.

“We had a dad call and he shared with us, ‘I just put the last four pieces of bread in my toaster for my kids’,” said Kim Adams-Bakke. “‘I have nothing to feed them when I get home. What can you do to help me?’”

This father is just one of the many in Winnebago County who don’t have the means to buy food for their children. But helping find food for families is what the Rock River Valley Pantry does. The pantry gives the basic necessities to the thousands who suffer from hunger in the stateline. Bakke says, that help starts with us.

“Lots of kids are really dependent on school breakfast and lunches to get good nutrition,” says UW Health Pediatric Nutritionist Camila Martin. She says schools are required to follow certain nutrition guidelines in their meals, and for many, that’s their only source.

Summer right around the corner means for some children a few months without a nutritious meal. That’s why the pantry pushes for donations to it’s annual Peanut Butter and Jelly Rally, throughout the month before school gets out.

“It doesn’t need refrigeration, so if there’s someone without a home, that child can still make that peanut butter and jelly sandwich,” said Bakke.

Bakke says while also being convenient, peanut butter and jelly sandwiches actually serve as a good source of protein, which children need for development.

“Without quality nutrition, it can lead to inability to focus in school, headaches, which can lead to behavior issues,” said Martin.

Bakke says the few dollars spent on a jar, can be the difference in a kid’s life.

“The people that walk through the lobby and the choice room where the groceries are packed, they walk through our lives as well,” said Bakke.

The Peanut Butter and Jelly Rally hopes to bring in around 20,000 jars before the calendar hits June.

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