ASTEF’s Advocate for Education 2018
Have you ever thought about where hungry children get their meals on the weekend? Jane Bounds, resident of Waco with 30-plus years involvement in local school campuses, and Cliff Reece, Director of Child Nutrition Services for Waco ISD, realized that children, particularly those on free or reduced lunch, were leaving McLennan County schools on Fridays not knowing where their next meal would come from until they returned to school on Monday morning. Thus, the nonprofit Pack of Hope was born.
Volunteers gather every Wednesday morning at the Waco ISD Child Nutrition Services warehouse to fill bags with food. Pack of Hope relies on grants and donations of food and money from individuals and local businesses and organizations. The bags are delivered to 17 of the 18 school districts in McLennan County. Nearly 1,100 students selected by the campus counselors pick up a food bag and put it in their own backpack before the end of the school day on Friday. This eliminates the stigma of some kids receiving free food in a specially identified backpack, as was the original vision.
Pack of Hope, in the eight years since its inception, is receiving positive reports that attendance is better on Fridays, because students come to pick up the food packs, and on Mondays, because the students have had nourishing food over the weekend and can function more normally. These students recognize that someone really cares, and, as a result, have greater self-esteem, are less disruptive in class, and perform better academically.
Pack of Hope president and co-founder Jane Bounds graduated from Richfield High School in Waco, received a degree from the University of Oklahoma, and returned to Waco. In addition to her work with Pack of Hope, Jane serves on the board of the Friends of the Waco-McLennan County Library, Inc.; is currently Secretary of the Temple Rodef Sholom and on the board of directors of the Youth Chorus of Central Texas; and has served on the board of the Greater Waco Interfaith Conference for 40 years. Jane has served as president of several levels of PTA organizations, including the school level, the Waco City Council PTA, District 12 PTA and Area 8 PTA, and was a member of the Texas State Board of PTAs.
Jane and co-founder Cliff Reese and the McLennan County Pack of Hope were recognized in November 2017 as the “Outstanding Service Organization of the Year” at the Central Texas Chapter of the Association of Fundraising Professionals’ National Philanthropic Day luncheon.
Last but not least, the ASTEF Board of Directors, with great pride and humility, awarded the 2nd Annual ASTEF Advocate for Education Award to Jane Bounds at the Texas State Organization Convention in Waco, Texas.
The ASTEF Advocate for Education Award is given to a woman in Texas who is an avid supporter of education by showing her commitment to service and financial contributions to multiple areas of education while not a current educator herself.
The award was presented at the TSO Convention in Waco during the ASTEF Annual Meeting on Friday, June 15. Please join the ASTEF Board of Directors in congratulating Ms. Jane Bounds for her dedication to eliminating childhood hunger by stamping out “food insecurity” in McLennan County.