The Salvation Army is helping Racine Unified students eat on the weekends when they might otherwise not have enough food to get them from Friday afternoon to Monday morning.

What started as a trial program last spring at Knapp Elementary has grown into a service for 148 elementary-age children, a story in The Journal Times reads. That number is expected to rise to 186 students on Nov. 6.

The weekend packs consist of four entrees and two snacks, local corps officer Major Ken Nicolai told the newspaper, to help young students who are in need have the food they need over the weekend.

“We just want to prevent a situation where kids aren’t getting proper nourishment,” he is quoted as saying.

The $24,000 cost of the program is funded by the United Way of Racine County and donations collected by the Junior League of Racine. Volunteers put together and deliver the packs to participating schools: Giese, Goodland, Jefferson Lighthouse, Julian Thomas, Knapp, Schulte, RCLA and West Ridge.

As the number of children served expands, Nicolai said additional fundraising measures will be needed.

Students are recommended for the program by school social works, so families cannot currently sign up to be part of it, the story continues, but families can opt out.

A youth cafe is also expected to open after the new year for students age 18 and younger. Nicolai told the newspaper the idea was borne because of the number of kids who visit the Salvation Army offices, 1901 Washington Avenue, asking for leftover food.

The $40,000 cost of the cafe will be covered by state and federal grants.

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