The Director of Grocery Getter Nation, a 501(c)3 organization, knows first-hand the struggles that come along with financial hardship. Although family finances were not discussed years ago, it was apparent as a young child that there wasn’t enough money to go around. As a youngster, our Director remembers the family station wagon, or “grocery getter,” as the focal point of many family memories in both good times and bad, especially when money was tight. The memories of being unable to pay for necessities like school lunches can last a lifetime, which lead to the desire to make a difference.
Times have changed. However, the inability to consistently pay for school lunch still exists for many families. It is often thought to affect only those with low-income, but with the ever-changing family dynamics, more families are facing money pressures and are falling on hard times. What was once considered a ‘traditional’ family is less common, as modern families are more fragmented and diverse, which can cause instability and stress. Those who struggle financially often prefer to struggle quietly, so many families who could qualify for free and reduced lunches do not take the initiative to apply. Instead of taking the offer of a free or reduced lunch, parents are turning to pre-packaged lunches and processed foods in a lunch box.
The Director has taken his love for “grocery getters” a step further and is an active member of the drag-racing and hot-rod communities. Being from a small town and seeing how family circumstances can affect a child’s future, he saw the need to help and knew as a member of these communities, he had an avenue to do it.
He believes that regardless of circumstances, no child should feel the burden of their household finances. The stigma that goes along with a negative lunch balance, not having the ability to purchase á la carte items, or receiving a different meal at lunch, can follow a child for years. By paying off overdue lunch balances and potentially offsetting the cost of school lunch, we at Grocery Getter Nation, intend to reduce lunchroom bullying and help maintain a balance in the kids’ lives that they may not have otherwise.
We do not compete or interfere with the already established ‘free and reduced lunch program’. It is our mission to work with area schools to pay off overdue balances of those lunch accounts that are not associated with the Government program but are unable to be paid by the families due to unforeseen or unfortunate circumstances.
We have teamed up with a local race track as well as area businesses in order to host fundraising events that have something for the whole family. We look forward to doing our part by providing weekend entertainment while bringing families and communities back together.