Hundreds of Utah school kids are taking bags home from school every Friday.
They're not filled with books to do homework with. Instead, they're filled with food so they and their families can eat.
The bags come from USANA Kids Eat.
USANA is a Utah-based health and nutrition company.
Its foundation does humanitarian work across the globe. Michelle Benedict, Director of USANA Kids Eat, says "Several years ago they were talking and said, you know, here we are feeding kids all over the world, what are we doing in our own backyard?"
Every Friday the kids take home bags that have seven meals in them and it gets them through the weekends.
USANA Kids Eat opened just a few months before schools closed down because of COVID. "The schools had to be really creative in getting the bags to the kids. And they were. They were amazing. In a lot of cases they were driving the bags to the kids home," says Benedict.
The pandemic also made the need for the food bags grow. In 2020 they did 377,000 meals, now in 2021, they're distributing about 930 bags every weekend, and that's about 6,500 meals every weekend.
USANA Kids Eat isn't forgetting about the teachers who went above and beyond during the pandemic, getting the bags to the kids. Benedict says they're handing out Teacher Relief Bags filled with things like stress balls, chocolate, and sparkling water.
Smith's Food & Drug is a community partner with USANA Kids Eat, they do most of their food ordering through them, they order pallets of food and food in bulk to get the best deals.
For all the work USANA is doing in the community, they were awarded the Zero Hunger Hero Award from Fox 13 and Smith's Food & Drug.
Aubriana Martinedale from Smith's presented the award and said, "Michelle and team, Smith's is in the food business, but more importantly we are in the people business. And we have found that so many people are struggling with hunger, especially kids. And so we've made it our mission to find a solution, but we know we can't do it alone."
Most of the work USANA Kids Eat is able to do is through donations from the community. If you'd like to help, visit usanakidseat.org.