For many Frisco parents, meal planning can be exhausting. The grocery lists, the picky eaters, the restaurant debates, and the endless packing of lunches. The struggle feels real – and it’s all too easy to forget that these frustrations are a luxury.
For some of our neighbors, the big question isn’t what or where to eat. Instead, a growing number of families are wrestling with a much more difficult question: how will I feed my children?
When I visited with Autumn Chavez, Executive Director of Lovepacs, I was shocked to learn how widespread food insecurity is in Frisco. In a community where so many have so much, it’s almost impossible to imagine that children in each of our neighborhoods go without food.
Sadly, this is the reality. And certainly a reality check for me. The need is real in our community, and the hunger is growing.
Lovepacs currently provides meals to over 1,000 school-age children in Frisco. Take a minute to let that sink in. Autumn shares,
When I tell people that we serve over 1,000 kids in Frisco ISD they’re shocked. And that doesn’t even represent all of the children in need. People think of Frisco as a very affluent area and what they don’t realize is we have a huge issue of food insecurity. We serve students at every single school in Frisco. This means that those of us who have children in Frisco ISD schools, they have peers who live in a home that doesn’t always have food available.
Lovepacs is committed to addressing local food insecurity, with a goal that no child in our community should face hunger. The nonprofit organization provides breakfast, lunch, and snacks to children when schools are closed for long holiday breaks. They rely on school counselors to identify the number of kids in their schools at risk for food insecurity (while protecting the student’s personal identities).
This is how love launched a legacy…
As of 2019, Lovepacs had served more than 5,000 children in over 145 schools in 10 Texas school districts, including Frisco, Little Elm, Plano, Denton, Prosper, Aubrey, and the Colony. Over the past 9 years, Lovepacs has served more than 2 million meals to Texas children in need.
Lovepacs began in 2011 when a group of neighbors in The Colony came together to support children in their neighborhood’s school. Autumn explains,
In 2011, Lovepacs was born out of a desire of a group of neighbors in The Colony to demonstrate the joy of serving one another out of love, with the goal of addressing food insecurity of children in their community. They learned of six children who were in need of food during the holiday break. Their elementary school counselor explained that school holidays often meant days without meals for students dependent on the free-lunch program. Food scarcity in many homes was real and children right in their own community were often hungry. This grim reality motivated people in the community to come together and provide for each other.
Today, Lovepacs continues this legacy of neighbors serving neighbors. Through its unique and inclusive volunteer philosophy, Lovepacs offers each of us a meaningful role in their mission.
Here’s how you can help.
Can you count to three? Then you’re qualified to volunteer for Lovepacs. Everyone has a role to play in the fight against food insecurity and Lovepacs welcomes volunteers of all ages with open arms.
Families, children, students, groups, and businesses are all valued partners in Lovepacs’ community effort. Autumn explains,
We’re different from other nonprofits in that we allow anyone to volunteer with us. We always say if you can count to three, then you can help us sort food and pack. We invite businesses and extracurricular activity groups — such as scouts, sports teams, churches, National Honor Society students — to come alongside us and host food drives, pack and decorate boxes, and make cards for these children.
It’s important to me that we don’t just ask for cash donations, but that we bring people alongside us so they can be part of the packing experience. There’s something really special about selecting the food and packing the boxes that will end up in the hands of a child in need.
Lovepacs makes volunteering easy, fun, and personal. You can start helping right now by joining Lovepacs’ facebook page and getting to know them better.
Frisco, the need is greater than ever.
This year, the number of local children in need is growing. Lovepacs is working hard to stock their pantry shelves with food. Most of the schools in our community continued to serve kids through the end of last school year and through the summer — and now, the shelves are almost empty.
Due to COVID, the number of kiddos they’re serving has increased. Lovepacs is trying to ensure that they can provide the food that’s needed now and months from now. They’re looking for more businesses and churches to partner with, and they’re getting creative about it. Autumn explains,
Because of the COVID restrictions, we’ve had to get creative with engaging our communities. In the past, we could host a huge pack of 20-30 people at one of our pantries or have a corporation (SWA and T-Mobile did this last year) host a large pack on-site and we just can’t do that right now.
So, we’re rolling out an ‘adopt-a-box program’ for businesses, groups, and families to help us serve kiddos without getting together at a large pack. Volunteers can shop for food together, decorate, and pack a box (or boxes) all from the security of their own homes. It’s important for us to be able to offer a range of options for our volunteers and donors. Our communities will still host small packs at our pantries and of course, we will always find a way to come to churches and businesses and host small packs there.”
Ready to share the love?
Lovepacs has immediate needs and plenty of ways for you to help. Visit the Lovepacs website to learn more and to find your local community’s web page.
We’re seeing more and more families in need of our services and we’re working extremely hard to be able to serve them. I don’t see the numbers decreasing for a while. Please follow our Facebook page and our community pages for upcoming events, packs, and volunteer opportunities. Please reach out to me via email@example.com if you’re interested in volunteering, donating, or partnering with us.
— Autumn Chavez, Executive Director, Lovepacs