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Teacher-founded nonprofit helps feed high school kids in need

Published: Oct. 25, 2021 at 11:00 AM CDT|Updated: Oct. 25, 2021 at 7:24 PM CDT
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LONGVIEW, Texas (KLTV) - If a student is hungry many educators say they have a hard time learning. There are plenty of programs out there that supply food to students in need, but high school students tend to get left out. Two teachers at Malkoff High School formed a nonprofit to address that need called Building Better Kids.

Malakoff Culinary Arts Teacher Mandy Hancock and Malakoff Sophomore Marli Miller, along with other students, look over a pretty good amount of donations gathered as Region 7′s Food Service Show wound down at Maude Cobb in Longview.

“The program is called Building Better Kids, and you’ll hear my student refer to it as BBK, because that’s a whole lot easier to say. And here about three years ago several of us at the high school realized different teachers were sending groceries home with kids over the weekend because an elementary kid will tell you they’re hungry, my momma doesn’t buy groceries, but high school kids want to fit in. And so they’ll keep their mouths shut and they won’t ask,” Hancock said.

So Hancock and Malakoff Math Teacher Sabrina Hight set up a 501 c 3 called BBK. Students involved with the program noticed there were a lot of nonperishable leftovers at the food show, so they asked for donations.

“It’s going great. We’ve gotten a bunch of food and I think it’ will definitely help our kids that need help,” Miller said.

The students were surprised at how giving vendors at the show were when they explained the program.

“When there’s food in their bellies they can learn, because they don’t care about algebra or science or any of that when their stomach’s grumbling. And so we’re going to love on them first and teach them second,” Hancock said.

They fill backpacks with food for fellow students:

“Every Friday,” Miller said.

And BBK does more than just feed the hungry.

“We’ve helped with utilities when a family’s been in need. We’ve helped with funeral costs when a parent dies. Just whatever is needed. We just want to love on our kids because that’s what God told us we’re supposed to do,” Hancock said.

So with the food show at its end the students carry their big bags of love, and learning, out the door of Maude Cobb to help feed the need.

Building Better Kids is now in its third year. Hancock says they send food home to about 30 students every week.

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