33_20130212131145_1001181_large[fusion_builder_container hundred_percent=Even though she is only ten, Alyssa takes care of herself. Her mother is a single parent and they live with her mother’s boyfriend. Other family members drift in and out of the house, and there are often cousins and friends living there too. Alyssa’s mom does the best she can, but working nights leaves her daughter to fend for herself at mealtime. The bag of food Alyssa gets every Friday from BackPack Beginnings helps her feed herself for the entire weekend. She doesn’t have to worry about where her meals are coming from while her mom is asleep or at work. All the food she needs is right there when she gets hungry.

A fourth grader at Irving Park, Alyssa has already had a hard life. She lived with her father until he went to jail, and now she is back with her mom. Despite everything, Alyssa has a quick little smile. As she talks about her favorite things in the bag, she hardly looks up. Her long dark hair covers her face, but it doesn’t hide her bubbly giggles. With so much going on at home, Alyssa spends a lot of time with the social worker. She explains that Alyssa has a sweet and sunny personality behind her shy demeanor, and with a little personal attention she really shines.

Even though she pretends it is no big deal to get the bag, Alyssa is one of the most excited to open it every Friday morning. She is eager to see what each bag holds for her. Though her mom gets food stamps, it is not always enough to make ends meet. Alyssa knows her mom gets nervous every month when the stamps start to run out. In a house where there is very little, for her to have her own food is a big deal. Getting the food also helps let her know that there are people out there who care. People who are making sure she has something to eat when she is not in school. That assurance, along with a bag of food, helps her keep that sweet giggle and grin.

All children’s names have been changed

Written on 2/25/2013 by Blogger Thea DeLoreto