There's a growing need in Oklahoma City Public Schools for food assistance programs, but it doesn't stop there. Many children also need food over the weekend.
News 9 goes Beyond the Bell to fight childhood hunger with the Food for Kids backpack program.
Every Friday afternoon, thousands of Oklahoma City Public School students pick up a backpack filled with nutritious foods to keep them from going hungry over the weekend.
"They need it. There's lots of kids here that need this program," said Kindergarten teacher, Rachel Leforce.
Leforce sees that need firsthand, in her classroom.
"We have a student in my kindergarten class and he is on the program and we have, on Fridays, our PTA sell popcorn. So today as a treat, I bought everybody popcorn and he proceeded to crawl all over the floor, picking up every teeny tiny morsel off the floor, trying to eat it, 'cause he's hungry and he doesn't know if he's going to eat when he gets home,'" said Leforce.
Leforce sees and hears situations like that all the time; evidence that many students don't get something as basic as food when they go home from school.
"Knowing today that I sent food home that's going to allow him the right nutrition to help him grow up and be healthy, is important because you know, he's eating popcorn off the floor," said Leforce.
Leforce says it's difficult not to get emotional because she knows, without this program some of her students would literally starve over the weekend.
"Being able to provide them with additional resources helps us feel like we're helping the whole child, not just that seven hours a day," Leforce said.
The backpack program serves more than just Oklahoma City Public Schools. More than 13,000 students in central and western Oklahoma depend on the food-filled backpacks across many school districts.
School officials say if your family needs some extra help, do not be embarrassed, just contact your child's teacher.
For more information on how you can support Food for Kids, go to www.News9.com/foodforkids