To alleviate childhood hunger so kids can be kids.
In 2007, Kids Aid was created by concerned citizens recognizing an overwhelming need in their community. These citizens quickly learned that many children in Mesa County did not have enough to eat over the weekends and were coming to school distracted and fatigued by hunger the following week. They soon gathered others to assist in addressing this issue and collaborated with a Mesa County District #51 (MCSD) school to begin a pilot weekend food distribution program since no other program met weekend hunger needs. The initial program distributed 10 sacks of food over the weekends through one elementary school for three months.
Since the initial pilot program in the spring of 2007, need in the valley continued to increase. The program began in the back office of the co-founder's business with five volunteers (employees of the business) distributing food each week. The program now partners with several local churches and over 140 volunteers and has grown from serving 10 students a week to approximately 2250 students a week in the 2016/17 fiscal year. Kids Aid collaborates with 51 MCSD elementary, middle and high schools, including two charter schools, Plateau Valley, the DeBeque school district, and a food bank at Colorado Mesa University.
Until the summer of 2013, Kids Aid was governed and managed by volunteers only. In June of 2013, the Board of Directors, and the volunteer Executive Director, realized that in order to continue to meet the on-going and increasing need, it was best to hire a Program Director to coordinate volunteers, assist with fundraising activities and identify and apply for additional grants. This was also an opportunity to create organizational procedures and processes in order to effectively manage any challenges faced by a small non-profit. In June of 2013, Kids Aid hired the first part-time, paid position in the organization and in July of 2014, the position shifted from Program Director to Executive Director.
The Kids Aid summer program has increased since it's start in June of 2015. Kids Aid collaborates with the MCSD mobile food trucks (the Lunch Lizards) beginning in June and distributes bags of food to children under 18 years of age for the weekends during the summer months. In the summer of 2016, Kids Aid distributed more than 3,500 bags of food and is now distributing around 11,000 bags each summer.
"Thanks to Kids Aid, our students have the chance to return to school after the weekend with at least some fuel in their tank to start the school week. Thanks to Kids Aid, they know that someone else out there cares about their well being. Thanks to kids Aid, they can depend on a food bag to be there for them every weekend (even the long ones) to help them over the hump - something they can prepare themselves if they need to. It helps them grow, it helps them learn, it helps them trust."
--- Mesa County School District #51 Elementary Secretary