Karma for Cara Microgrants help fund exceptional service projects led by youth 18 and under working to better their communities. Read about our microgrant recipient, Samantha, a 16-year-old who created Snack Sacks. Snack Sacks provides children who qualify for free or reduced lunch programs with food over the weekend.
1. What inspired you to start “Snack Sacks”?
Last year, in working in the drama production Annie with local elementary school Golden Springs Elementary, I saw a young Golden Springs student stuff three or four bags of Animal Crackers in his backpack. It was not because he was greedy; it was because he was hungry. Some images stick with us, and what we decide to do about them is up to us. This image prompted a little research. According to a Golden Springs Elementary School employee, approximately 75-80% of students at Golden Springs qualify for free or reduced lunch programs. This means they are guaranteed at least one meal a day during the school week, but some may have nothing over the weekend. Hunger does not end with the school week. The mission behind Snack Sacks is to provide these children with nourishment over the weekend. We pack five or six snacks within a paper bag each week for them to take home.
2. Why is your work important to you?
At the project’s inception, I had moments of skepticism. Could this really work? How much of a difference could a paper bag with a few snacks in it make anyway? Who would I even be helping? I doubt the program no more. Among the students in the program is a boy connected to a feeding tube for seventeen hours a day in need of a multi-organ transplant who is ecstatic at the sight of snacks like Animal Crackers. There are siblings living through incredibly complex circumstances extremely thankful for a simple banana. There are students ranging from kindergarten to fifth grade that now have a safety blanket in regards to food. My work is important to me because it gives these children something of their own and something that can stop their stomachs from growling. Students like the boy I mentioned in the first question no longer have to stuff bags of Animal Crackers in their backpacks because they now have them at home.
3. How did the money from the microgrant help with your project?
I attend a private school that has a “no-fundraising” policy. The idea behind it is the school does not desire to ask for money beyond that paid in tuition fees. This policy is logical; however, it can create some problems in beginning projects such as Snack Sacks. Seeing as the project had not yet begun and I had no results businesses might be willing to invest in, myÂ only available option to kickstart the project was a grant. This is where Karma for Cara came into play. We are now ten weeks into the project with ninety volunteers and serve twenty-four students each week. The program has grown, and we now have a solid program in which local business might be willing to invest. We hope to see the program continue to grow, and are thankful for the chance Karma for Cara gave us. Without Karma for Cara, Snack Sacks would not exist.
4. What message of giving back do you have for others?
This may sound trite, but honestly, everyone has the capacity to give back in some way, shape, or form. Problems may arise, but the thing about problems is they have solutions. I had an idea, but no way to finance that plan. Karma for Cara became my solution. What is yours? All giving back takes is a sense of initiative and a heart willing to fuel it.