SILVER SPRING, Md. (WUSA) --- "One of the richest places in the U.S., Montgomery County, has 47,000 children on free-and-reduced meal plan," said Jeremy Lichtenstein, founder of Kids in Need Distributors, a non-profit organization helping to feed children on the weekends in Montgomery County.
Kids in Need Distributors (KIND) started in 2012, when Lichtenstein learned children in his home county face regular bouts of hunger on the weekends, a time when they do not have subsidized meals from their schools.
"One of the things we found in speaking to our families, that many of our students on the weekends go hungry. They tell us about it Monday morning when they come in the school," said Luis San Sebastian, Acting Principal of Broad Acres Elementary School in Silver Spring.
"In terms of impact of food, the research is very clear; that if kids are well nourished, then they are going to be better able to learn and be focused in school," said San Sebastian.
"We are fortunate at Broad Acres. All of our students receive a free breakfast every morning. Then students, about 95 percent of our students do receive a free and reduced meal in terms of their lunch. So it's very impacted."
Lichtenstein says his non-profit organization currently feeds about 600 children in 13 Montgomery County public schools. Broad Acres Elementary School has 100 students receiving food from the all-volunteer organization.
One hundred percent of the donations go toward food at Kids In Need Distributors, according to Lichtenstein. Volunteers shop and send food to schools every six weeks, so children get nourished every weekend.
"We give them quite a bit of protein," said Lichtenstein. "We give them tuna fish, applesauce, raisins, things like that to help them get through the weekend."
At Broad Acres Elementary School, a group of volunteers and IMPACT Silver Spring package and then distribute the food directly to the children's households.
"This school really serves as kind of a nerve center or hub for what is happening in our community. And so we pick the food up here. We bring together a group of volunteer neighbors who then help us distribute the food to families in need," said Ronald Galvin, Executive Director of IMPACT Silver Spring.
San Sebastian describes Kids in Need Distributors as "a miracle to Broad Acres."
"It's been an incredible message to send to the community, in that, not only are they receiving food that they so desperately need, but the message that Jeremy is sent with KIND is that, they're important, that they have not been forgotten. And that's the message that I think is important," said San Sebastian.
NOTE: Gannett Foundation has given a grant to Kids In Need Distributors.
Produced by: Elizabeth Jia
WUSA 9 & WUSA9.com