Kids Helping Kids

For the rest of January through March 31, 2020, ZLO Staff & Families will be collecting specific food items for Open Hands, an outreach ministry of Calvary Creekside. Their mission states, “Open Hands exists to eliminate hunger among elementary school children in Whatcom County.

Update: Check out our progress here!

Week One: You all are amazing. Our tote is spilling over. Let’s overflow it again next week!

Open Hands provides non-perishable and easy-to-prepare food on weekends and school holidays. Every Friday during the school year, students receive a bag of food containing two breakfasts, three lunch/dinner meals and two small snacks.

How can you help? By purchasing and donating the specific items in the picture shown below. Generic brands are fine, but the item should be the same. For example, chicken noodle soup of any brand, but the size and packaging are the same; individual applesauce cups of any brand, but size and packaging are the same, and so on. Every child receives the same items in their bag.

The store names noted in parentheses under each item are where they have been found to be available for purchase at the lowest cost.

We have a basket at our information table, ready to receive your gifts each Tuesday and Thursday.

Open Hands started small, serving 30 students at Lynden’s Isom Elementary in November 2017 with weekend meals to bridge the gap of hunger in their homes. Fast forward to now, and during the school year they are serving about 800 elementary students weekly at Isom, Custer, Everson, Nooksack, Sumas, Cascadia, Skyline, Eagleridge, North Bellingham Learning Center, and Beach Elementary School.

“The needs are there. The help is felt.”


Whatcom County Statistics:

  • 41% of households are unable to afford basic needs
  • 1 in 5 local households regularly use a food bank
  • 35% of all food bank assistance directly benefit children

Percentage of students receiving free/reduced lunch in school districts served:

  • Lynden Schools: 38%
  • Ferndale Schools: 47.3%
  • Nooksack Schools: 58.2%

Elementary schools Open Hands currently serves:

  • Isom Elementary – 30 students, since November 2017
  • Everson Elementary – 150 students, since January 2018
  • Sumas Elementary – 140 students, since September 2018
  • Nooksack Elementary – 80 students, since September 2018
  • Custer Elementary – 75 students, since November 2018
  • Central Elementary – 30 students, since February 2019

Just added in Fall 2019:

  • Skyline Elementary
  • Eagleridge Elementary
  • Beach Elementary
  • North Bellingham Learning Center
UPDATE! ZLO Community Service: Open Hands
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