Nonprofit Spotlight: Snack Pak 4 Kids | Atmos Energy
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Nonprofit Spotlight: Snack Pak 4 Kids

Nonprofit Spotlight
April 1, 2021

Every FridaySnack Pak 4 Kids (SP4K) provides children with reliable, nutritious food to take home over the weekend so they can succeed. With one in four children in Texas facing food insecurity, SP4K is focused on ending weekend hunger by providing a backpack filled with kid-friendly snacks for students in need who live in the Amarillo area and its surrounding communities.  

In 2010founders Dyron and Kelly Howell discovered Amarillo was the largest city west of Dallas without a weekend backpack program. At that time, more than 3,200 children in the Amarillo Independent School District relied only on the meals served to them at school, leaving hundreds of children hungry throughout the weekend. Determined to find a way to address this need, on Friday, Sept. 3, 2010 the Howells assembled 10 bags containing enough food for the first 10 SP4K recipients.   

Today, the program serves more than 10,000 kids in 51 school districts and partners with teachers, counselors, principals, or school staff to identify students living in food-insecure households. Each week volunteers pack bags filled with brand-name nutritious food items and deliver them to participating schools. Once received, school staff transitions the food in the bags to backpacks to be discreetly sent home with students each Friday.  The backpack not only supports the student in need but contains enough food to also support any siblings at home who are not school-age. 

Studies show food insecure children are more likely to get sick, be tardy or absent, and repeat a grade,” said Michael GonzalesAtmos Energy manager of public affairs. “We are proud to partner with SP4K, as 100 percent of all donations given to SP4K are used to purchase food for Amarillo children in need, helping to fuel bright minds and healthy futures in the communities we serve. 

Atmos Energy began its partnership with SP4K in 2016 and, through its Fueling Safe and Thriving Communities program, has donated more than $25,000 to support SP4K’s mission to end weekend hunger for children. Prior to COVID-19, several Atmos Energy West Texas team members also volunteered to help package and deliver hundreds of meals weekly to Amarillo area elementary schools.   

“Atmos Energy is committed to the communities they live and work in,” said Dyron Howell, SP4K founder and director. “They are much more than a gas company; they are a valued partner and give their time and resources to help our kids who struggle with weekend hunger. Their investment in our city makes a real difference.” 

To join SP4K in their mission to end weekend hunger, please visit https://www.sp4k.org/