The organization's mission is to fight childhood hunger by providing children in need with meals on the weekends.
Sharif is in 5th grade at Roxbury. He is an only child who came to this country from Morocco when he was in 3rd grade. To his credit, in two short years Sharif has become fluent in English and performs at or near grade level. However, his relative success in school belies how difficult it is to be a new immigrant. Sharif desperately wants to fit in and be popular, but he struggles socially because he is not yet completely acclimated to life in the United States. His parents do not speak English and as a result, Sharif's life outside of school is quite insular. He worries way more than most boys his age, especially about his parents. Although they are healthy, Sharif fears he will become orphaned if they ever get sick. What is most notable about Sharif however is that food is at the center of both his anxiety and sense of security.
Sharif often asks teachers for food and says that his Mom does not have the money to buy the special snacks he sees other students eating in the cafeteria. Fortunately, he is part of the federal free lunch program, which also entitles him to receive a free hot breakfast at school each morning. Unlike your typical picky eater, Sharif is game to try anything and usually loves it! So when Filling in the Blanks offered to partner with Roxbury, it was no surprise that Sharif was the first to return his permission form. Before the weekend food was distributed for the first time, Sharif double and triple-checked that he was "on the list." Then, on the big day, he stopped by the office to ask what time "it was happening"! In this regard, Sharif is not unlike the 92 other students who are enrolled in the program. Each Friday brings the thrill of a lifetime!
A couple of months after the program started, something quite unexpected and wonderful happened to Sharif. After several successive Fridays of taking home his very own bag of food and fresh fruit, he became noticeably calmer. He stopped fretting about all kinds of things, from school to friends to his parents' health. He also stopped begging for food. Clearly, being part of the program satisfied a physiological need, but it obviously satisfied an emotional one too. Never doubt that removing one small worry from a child's life can change his entire outlook.
each year over 1000 volunteer come thru our doors to help assemble and pack the weekend meal bags.