One in five children go to school hungry in the Anchorage school district. Four area clubs, including Anchorage South, East, Hillside and Russian Jack, will work together to build raised vegetable garden boxes at four (4) elementary school. This will allow the children to learn how to plant, tend to and harvest vegetables then donate them to Children's Lunchbox program. This program provided 350,024 fresh meals in 2017 to 11 different sites in Anchorage. One school alone, in 2017, provided over 800 pounds of potatoes and carrots from 16 garden boxes, to this organization. The need is huge and working with Ginger Okamoto with Children's Lunchbox, she has asked us to expand the veggies to include onions, garlic, peppers, cucumbers, sweet potatoes as well as potatoes, carrots and anything else that grows through the summer and can be harvested in the fall when the kids return to school.
We are hopeful that with the donations of pressure treated lumber, soil and veg starts our money will go further and we can provide boxes to more elementary schools. Rotarians will work along side teachers and other volunteers to assemble the garden boxes, first at Abbott Loop Elem. (Principal is Pres Elect Arthur Sosa of Russian Jack club). Then the kids can help add soil and plant the vegetables before June 1st and maintain them over this summer. We can continue to build boxes this fall, fill with soil with the help of the kids (in three other schools) and let them sit over the winter. Then next spring (2019) we can plant in those schools and follow through with them next summer into the fall harvest donating the vegetables to Children's Lunchbox.
Our cost analysis, provided by Jonathan Hornak, project manager for Cornerstone General Contractors, current board member of Beans Café and my son, shows the cost break down for providing boxes for schools with various amount of boxes. Arthur Sosa has requested one box for each classroom (15 boxes) so our total cost would be $4000 for Abbott Loop Elem. Each school may vary because some schools may not have the allotted room for that many boxes nor the faculty or kids to care for them. Each box will cost $584.26 not including the vegetables.
I can email a cost sheet to you as I am unable to attach it to this. Each club will be asking for $2500 from DDF, will be providing $2500 in donated materials or matching funds. Thus the request for $10,000 from DDF for the collaborated projects. Project funds will be used to acquire lumber, soil, vegetable starts and signage at each school. With the assistance of District funds we can create a sustainable project for many years that will feed thousands of children.