Cabot woman helping feed children during the holidays

By Lisa Burnett Published November 17, 2013 at 12:00 a.m.
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In an attempt to prevent families from going hungry, Susan Hedin started Lunchbox Connection, a program that provides sack lunches to children and their parents in the Cabot School District area when school is on break.

CABOT — Susan Hedin is doing what she can to make sure children in the Cabot area don’t spend the holidays with empty bellies. For the second year, she’s providing food for children who need it through her program Lunchbox Connection.

“Lunchbox Connection is a program I started to help feed children in Cabot,” Hedin said. “When school’s out, [they miss what] might be their only meal.”

Hedin said that last year, when schools were out for several days around the Thanksgiving holiday, she wanted to do something to help out.

She said she woke up one morning thinking of the children who needed a way to eat while they were on breaks from school.

“I went out and asked for donations,” she said.

She went to local businesses seeking donations to give to children and their families during not only Thanksgiving, but also Christmas and spring break.

The cost to furnish food is $150 per day to provide 100 lunches, she said.

The program began at Central Elementary School in Cabot, but Hedin said she saw such a need for the service during Thanksgiving and Christmas that she and her fellow volunteers expanded the program to two schools during spring break.

Central Elementary School opens its cafeteria for Hedin and volunteers to use to make the lunches, she said. Families can take the food to go or can stay in the cafeteria and eat with the volunteers.

This year’s program will begin Nov. 25 and continue through Nov. 29, with the exception of Thanksgiving Day, Hedin said.

“There’s an area organization that feeds people on Thanksgiving Day, and most people have a place to go for Thanksgiving,” she said.

She said that along with donations from people in the community, local restaurants have donated food to give to needy families.

“I walked into Taco Bell and asked for 100 tacos, and they just gave them to me,” she said.

This is a way for Hedin to interact with people in the community while also helping the needy.

“What we did last year, we got a bunch of lunch bags and made them up 50 at a time,” she said. “As people come in, we take the lunches out to them.”

Lunches will be provided from 11:15 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. at Central Elementary School in Cabot and at Ward Central Elementary School.

To make a donation or to volunteer to help with the Lunchbox Connection, call Hedin at (501) 786-3589 or email her at lunchboxconnection@gmail.com.

Staff writer Lisa Burnett can be reached at (501)244-4307 or lburnett@arkansasonline.com.

Online Reporter Lisa Burnett can be reached at 501-378-3887 or lburnett@arkansasonline.com.

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