HALO Movement grants: Striking back at hunger

Empty Sack

Clubs tackle food insecurity in three communities.

(This is the second in a series of articles focusing on Key Clubs that received HALO Movement grants over the summer.)

By Danielle Castonzo

Key Club International and Nickelodeon’s HALO Movement again have partnered to offer grants to help Key Clubs carry out service projects. In the latest round of 10 winners, three clubs received grants for projects that address hunger and food insecurity.

The Cypress Woods High School Key Club in Cypress, Texas, received a HALO grant to support economically disadvantaged students at nearby Jowell Elementary School. Out of Jowell’s 879 students, 653 face food insecurity. When Key Club members learned this troubling statistic, they decided to address it through the Pack-A-Snack project.

With its HALO grant money, the club will buy nutritional snacks that can be stored at room temperature and then stash them in bags and backpacks. After club members deliver the snacks to Jowell, the elementary school students can take home healthy and filling food for the weekend.

“Our community truly needs this project so we can impact students’ lives in more than one way,” Key Club member Ryan Parappuram wrote in the Key Club application. “First, it would allow them to be fed, and second, it would allow them to be healthy enough to go to school and get an education. Also, by our Key Club volunteering and making a change in the lives of young children, others in the community will be able to see that they can make a difference as well.”


In Raleigh, North Carolina, the Enloe Magnet High School Key Club also wanted to focus on food insecurity. Why? North Carolina is the 10th hungriest state in the nation.

The club’s HALO grant award will support a food-themed fall carnival, which will raise awareness of food insecurity in the Raleigh community. Admission will be a donation of canned food (or money to purchase food). That food then will be given to the Inter-Faith Food Shuttle, which distributes to those in need in Raleigh and to the high school’s food pantry. All funds raised from carnival games and activities also will go to the Food Shuttle.

“We hope to make strides in our community to reduce food insecurity in Raleigh,” Key Club member Megha Raman wrote in her application.

Brown Bag Lunch

Meanwhile, the HALO grant received by the McLoughlin High School Key Club in Milton-Freewater, Oregon, will help support its existing Friday Food Bag initiative. During weekly meetings, Key Club members pack food bags with two breakfast items, two lunch or dinner items and two snack items and deliver them to two district schools.

The grant will allow club members to support and expand their school’s food pantry, which currently serves 29 students through the Food Bag program.

“We recognize that hungry children can’t learn in school,” Jennifer Hammer, the McLoughlin Key Club advisor, says. “Our goal is to provide a little help to kids who face food insecurity and to try to mitigate some of the negative impacts that come with hunger.”

In the future, club members hope to include more healthy items and expand the program to support additional children and schools.


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