NOW campaign opens eyesA new player has joined the Nutrition on Weekends (NOW) team.
By: Maria Lockwood, Superior Telegram
A new player has joined the Nutrition on Weekends (NOW) team.
Lange-Laughlin Chiropractic Center held a month-long awareness campaign at its Superior office, collecting nearly $500 worth of donations in the process.
“I had heard about it through a patient in my office who works at National Bank of Commerce,” said chiropractor Dane Laughlin. “She came to Rotary and spoke, laid out all the things they are doing for so many kids in the community.”
The office usually holds an annual school supply drive. But the Rotary talk made an impact on Laughlin.
“We decided to do something different,” he said.
Information about the program was posted up around the office in August. NOW provides food for homeless children in the Superior and Solon Springs school districts. The program feeds approximately 90 to 105 students every week, at a cost of $3.50 per child per week. At the end of the 2011-2012 school year, approximately 88 bags a week were being handed out each Friday — 70 in Superior and 18 in Solon Springs. The program, which gears up again in October, requires $1,400 per month, or $350 a week, to continue serving these kids.
“There are children, there are families out there that need this help,” said Cindy Theien, a mortgage banker with National Bank of Commerce and one of the founders of NOW. “We can feed them on weekends.”
These children may not be sleeping out on park benches, but they meet the definition of homeless — a student who lacks an adequate nighttime resident. Last year, that included children living in hotels, families doubled up in housing and some living in shelters.
Laughlin has been active with the Rural Care and Share Food Shelf, which distributes food in Poplar.
“I know there are lots of people who come in,” he said, estimating that between 60 and 80 families visit the food shelf each month. “The need in our communities is astounding.”
The NOW awareness campaign opened a lot of eyes.
“Very few people had heard of the program,” Laughlin said. “Very few were aware of what it did.”
The non-profit NOW program operates under the umbrella of the United Way of Superior-Douglas County. The group partnered with Second Harvest Northern Lakes Food Bank last year to leverage better prices for the food. Volunteers put the bags together at Second Harvest. Donations from businesses like Lange-Laughlin Chiropractic Center and individuals have kept the program going since 2010.
“Truly all the money goes to food,” Theien said. The program is also seeking to expand to the Maple School District.
Laughlin, who has been practicing in Superior for 22 years, encouraged other businesses to support the NOW program. It’s a sobering thought, he said, to realize that in a country with so much, there are children who are hungry.
NOW depends entirely on community support to operate — from volunteers to pack the bags to monetary support from individuals, organizations and businesses. Money can be donated to the United Way of Superior N.O.W. Program at any National Bank of Commerce office. To volunteer, contact Second Harvest at (218) 727-5653.