Barrett Rugge was shocked when he learned students at his little brother’s elementary school go hungry throughout the day.
Barrett wanted to do something about it. About 70 Clara Barton Elementary School families in Redmond receive pantry packs — a program that provides weekend/break packs of food for students who are considered food insecure.
These students also struggle with not having enough snacks to eat throughout the day, Barrett said. The school tries to keep a snack drawer in the main office and some students often bring in their own food to eat, but the demand has far exceeded the supply and some simply aren’t able to afford it.
“Kids are struggling with not having enough food during the day,” Barrett said. “They can’t really learn because they’re hungry.”
There’s no set fund or program to fund school snacks, he said. So he started a GoFundMe campaign, Help Hungry Kids!, to raise money so the school staff can keep a consistent supply of healthy snacks available to kids throughout the day.
This isn’t the first time Barrett, now a sixth grader at Redmond Middle School, has organized a fundraiser to help hungry students. For the past two years, when he was a student at Norman Rockwell Elementary School, he organized fundraisers to support the school district’s pantry packs program.
“I think a lot of families who live in this area assume everyone has enough to get by,” Myla Rugge, Barrett’s mother, said. “It’s important for people to realize there are families who need some help.”
Barrett launched the current GoFundMe campaign Oct. 20 with the hope of raising $250. It surpassed $250 within a day, he said. He raised the goal amount to $1,000. It surpassed $1,000 within a few days. Now, the goal amount is set at $2,000. As of Nov. 20, $1,255 has been raised.
“I just really want to help kids in the community,” he said. It’s been great to see kids get the food they need to learn every day. No one should be hungry at school.”
To learn more about the GoFundMe campaign, visit tinyurl.com/tkbbaw5.