Students help peers make it through long weekend

— Honor students at Okanogan High School collected snacks and easy-to-make foods to help their fellow students through the long Thanksgiving weekend.

The food was given to the district’s Family Empowerment Project, which distributed it to students “who live in food-insecure homes,” National Honor Society adviser Trisha Bradley said.

“They were all items that could be easily made by a teenager,” she said.

Okanogan’s National Honor Society club started “Bulldog Bites” last year to provide students with food they can prepare on their own when school isn’t in session during long weekends or holiday breaks. During breaks, school breakfast and lunch programs shut down and some students don’t have much food at home.

“Bulldog Bites are our answer to the need that we see in our student population,” Family Empowerment Director Julia O’Connor said.

Most of the recipients are high school and middle school students “who are at risk of not having enough food to make it through the long holiday weekends,” O’Connor said. “We focus on having kid-friendly food — easily opened — pop top on the canned goods and microwavable — or food that does not require cooking.”

She said it’s a program about students helping other students.

“I would really like to grow this program. This is a building year for it,” she said.

The Chronicle contacted other schools in Okanogan and Ferry counties to see if they offered similar programs. None of those who responded offer food help beyond breakfast and lunch programs.

O’Connor said the Family Empowerment Community Resource Center also offers food to families who are in need and who have accessed the center’s resources, including clothing, shoes, blankets, small household goods and hygiene needs.

“This is offered when it is not a food bank day and there is an emergent situation,” she said.

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