Struggling Normandie Elementary students given free meals over weekends

LOS ANGELES (KABC) -- Students at Normandie Elementary School in Los Angeles take free pre-packaged food home with them on Fridays.

The meals are provided thanks to Blessings in a Backpack, an organization that provides much-needed food to nearly 90,000 children nationwide.

"This program is truly, truly been a blessing and is of great benefit for my family," Angela Johnson, a parent of a Normandie Elementary student, said.

Blessings in a Backpack provide meals to all 985 students at Normandie Elementary, where 99 percent of students live below the federal poverty line.

Students receive free or reduced lunches during the week; however, concern arose when many were arriving hungry to school Monday mornings.

"They're here at the school before 7 a.m. They're ready to (go) looking for their food, ready to eat their breakfast in the classroom," LAUSD Healthy Start Coordinator Cassandra Robinson said. "We know that there was probably a problem with having enough food over the weekend."

Students now leave school with bags of food and no longer worry where to find their next meal.

"They love it. They look forward to getting it when they provide it every month for them," Johnson said.

The program had led to improvements in class performance as well, according to school officials.

"It does help them when coming back ready, nourished, full and ready to learn on Monday morning," Robinson said.
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