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TCFA partners with Snack Pak on Beef Program.

Thursday, September 12th, 2013

Amarillo, Texas September 12, 2013 Texas Cattle Feeders Association (TCFA) has teamed up with Snack Pak 4 Kids (SP4K) to ensure that beef is provided in weekend snack packs for children at risk of hunger in the Texas Panhandle. Knowing the importance of beef in a child’s diet, TCFA members have rallied to make sure kids who face the possibility of missing meals over the weekend have access to a high quality beef product as an excellent protein source.

Snack Pak 4 Kids began with the mission of ending weekend hunger for children by providing a backpack filled with kid-friendly snacks each Friday of the school year. The program began in September 2010 serving 10 children in Amarillo and has grown to now serve over 4,000 students in 26 school districts in the Texas Panhandle.

“This partnership with TCFA ensures we can offer our kids a quality, sustainable source of protein, which is fitting since we live in the ‘Beef Capital of the World,’” said Dyron Howell, Snack Pak 4 Kids Founder. “Beef sticks were the No. 1 liked item listed on our 2013 kids survey, and there is no doubt this will make a difference.”

TCFA partners and members agree that beef is an important part of a child’s diet, because it serves as a powerhouse of essential nutrients needed to maintain both day-to-day and long-term health. Beef is a nutrient-rich source of protein, zinc, iron and vitamin B, which are all crucial to fueling important body processes like building muscles, healing wounds, maintaining the immune system and contributing to overall cognitive health.

“The Beef 4 Kids initiative will provide a high quality beef product to all students in the snack pak program this is an initiative we are proud to be a part of,” said TCFA CEO Ross Wilson. “This partnership represents the beef industry coming together to address a need in our area. It’s simply about the kids.”

Snack Pak 4 Kids hopes to activate this program to every community in the Texas Panhandle by 2015. To learn more about Snack Pak 4 Kids and for opportunities to donate or sponsor, please visit

TCFA is an agricultural trade association representing 200 beef cattle feedyards in the three-state area of Texas, Oklahoma and New Mexico and approximately 4,000 cattle feeders across the United States. TCFA members feed and market around 6.5 million head of cattle annually, about 30 percent of the nation’s fed beef supply. Find more about TCFA at
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Snack Pak 4 Kids Evaluation Graph

Of all 1,078 kids who were surveyed about the Snack Pak 4 Kids program, 22 percent stated the beef stick was their favorite item out of the entire bag, just second behind the 37 percent who said they liked it all.
Beef data

Corporate Sponsors
Screen Shot 2013-09-12 at 3.47.39 PM

Snack Pak 4 Kids in 30 Communities/23 Counties

Thursday, September 5th, 2013

A picture is worth a thousand words. Three years ago Snack Pak started with 10 kids. Now over 4,000 kids will benefit from the program in 30 communities starting this Fall.
Amarillo, Booker, Borger, Bushland, Canadian, Clarendon, Dalhart, Dimmitt, Dumas, Friona, Fritch, Happy, Hedley, Hereford, Highland Park, Lockney, Miami, New Home, Pampa, Perryton, Panhandle, River Road, San Antonio, Spearman, Stratford, Sunray, Tahoka, Tulia, White Deer, and Wildorado.

Thank you for your support!!!

2013 Snack Pak Counties

Snack Pak Harvesting Corn August 10th

Tuesday, July 30th, 2013

Our corn project will be ready to harvest August 10th at 8am-11am (come and go). We need volunteers to help. Sign up on the link below to help. Wildorado farmer David Cleavinger has generously donated the resources to grow 2 acres of sweet corn to help the kids and families in our community. We will need 100-150 volunteers to help us harvest over 20,000 ears of corn. We will deliver to 2-3 elementary school parking lots chosen by our school principals and distribute to families Saturday afternoon.

We suggest you bring sunscreen, work gloves, 5 gallon bucket, and loose fitting long sleeves to protect arms. We will have ice water, roasted corn, and bathrooms available. Sign up here to volunteer. Take I-40 west to Wildorado exit (12 miles w. of Amarillo).  Turn left at underpass on FM 809.  We will have signs marking the location 4 miles south of Wildorado.

Please sign up for Snack Pak Corn Harvest – here’s how it works in 3 easy steps:
1. Click this link to go to our invitation page on VolunteerSpot:
2. Enter your email address: (You will NOT need to register an account on VolunteerSpot)
3. Sign up! Choose your spots – VolunteerSpot will send you an automated confirmation and reminders. Easy!

Parent/Child Golf Tournament June 15th

Wednesday, May 29th, 2013

Create memories on Father’s Day weekend playing golf with your son, daughter, grandkid, niece or nephew.  What a fun way to spend the weekend and benefit Snack Pak 4 Kids.  For every 2 person team $50 will be donated to our summer feeding program.  Call 806-467-1000 ext 0 for questions.  The tournament starts at 9am at Palo Duro Creek Golf Course.

parent child golf

Students Create Snack Pak Logo

Friday, October 26th, 2012

Amarillo Area Center for Advanced Learning (AACAL)graphic design class created the new Snack Pak logo.
Students build logos for local firms
Oct 24, 2012


When Snack Pak 4 Kids founder Dyron Howell decided his organization needed a new logo, he explored options with several design companies, but turned to high school students for a solution.

Howell contacted Amarillo Area Center for Advanced Learning graphic design teacher Tammy Newsom in September to develop a new logo, but the project turned into a chance for students to gain valuable experience beyond what Howell and Newsom first imagined.

“I was shocked,” Newsom said. “I thought, ‘What a great opportunity for my students to actually gain real-world experience, to see it from
beginning to end, that their work does have meaning and value.’”

Howell said he and his wife started the Snack Pak 4 Kids program two years ago, providing sacks of food for local at-risk students every weekend.

The students built their logo designs, and graphic designers visited the class to offer critiques, Newsom said.

More than 20 students presented their designs to Howell and the designers to learn how to work with clients, Newsom said.

That’s an aspect of the lesson Newsom wouldn’t have been able to provide otherwise, she said.

“It reinforces what I’ve been teaching them,” Newsom said. “It’s not all about what you want; it’s about what your client wants.”

The feedback also was an eye-opening experience for Logan Bryant, 16, a junior at AACAL and Amarillo High School.

“I wasn’t prepared for the critiquing,” Bryant said. “I wasn’t ready for what they had to say. You have to be a little emotionless when that happens.”

Bryant said he expects those learning moments, combined with the technical skills he is learning, to help him as he enters the workforce.

“Experience will blow anyone out of the water,” he said. “No matter how young you are, if you have experience they are more likely to choose you. This is really, really helpful.”

The chance to build the logo for Snack Pak 4 Kids was particularly meaningful for Kayla Bolin, 17, a junior at AACAL and Amarillo High. Bolin said she previously volunteered with the organization and saw how it helped students who need food for weekends.

“Creating a logo for them, whether or not they chose mine, was still a lot of fun,” Bolin said. “I liked being able to give back to an organization that gives to the community so much.”

Howell said the organization now works in 14 school districts throughout the Panhandle and helps feed more than 3,000 children.

The organization plans to use a logo created by Jasmine Uy, 16, a junior at AACAL and Amarillo High, Howell said.

Uy said she enjoyed working on the project, but she didn’t start with one idea she knew would work.

“I had a lot of trouble at first trying to come up with something,” Uy said. “I played around with 12, 13 or maybe more ideas. I just tried doing them all and it led to the one that they chose.”

Uy said she was nervous when she first presented her design to Howell and the professional designers, but their feedback helped her create a better logo and gave her the confidence to work on future projects.

Uy said she will work with designers John Chaka and Jerry Bergeron at “redcap,” an Amarillo design studio, to refine her logo.

Designers also will also mentor her for the remainder of the school year as part of AACAL’s mentoring program, Bergeron said.

“It’s rewarding and inspiring to see the level expertise and creativity that they have at that age,” Bergeron said. “If we can apply some real-life application to their experience and their work, it’s a win-win.”

The students’ next project is to design a logo for Urban Envy, a mobile boutique, Newsom said.

Whether or not the students pursue a career in graphic design, Newsom said she hopes lessons from this class help students interact professionally, as well as have technical design skills they can use later in life.

“I want to develop their creativity, to be able to see the design concepts,” Newsom said. “I want them to be able to actually recognize (the design concepts) and for them to think outside the box, to not allow us to stuff their creativity.”

For Howell, the Snack Pak 4 Kids project evolved from the need for a new logo into a chance for students to support an organization that helps other students.

“There’s nothing better than kids helping kids,” Howell said. “As adults, we try to solve problems and we think we know the best solutions, but we have involved kids since we started this program, and it’s been amazing. … They can see things in such a different way than we do.”

Hungry children ‘can’t learn anything’-Front page Amarillo Globe News Story

Thursday, September 27th, 2012

Teachers say weekend food aids student behavior, academics
By BRITTANY NUNN September 24, 2012
Joe Barton leaned forward to emphasize a point about the vicious cycle of poverty and its key side effect, hunger.

“You cannot ask a child who is starving — you cannot ask a human being, doesn’t even have to be a child — you cannot ask a human being who is in a literal state of survival to be at their best,” said Barton, an Amarillo licensed professional counselor.

People lacking one or more of the basic components of survival — food, shelter or clothing — become preoccupied with how they can attain it, and quickly, he said. And that preoccupation makes it difficult to succeed in areas such as analytical thinking, long-term planning and creativity, Barton said.

That’s a problem the Snack Pak 4 Kids program began targeting two years ago, providing sacks of food for local at-risk students every weekend. A recent survey of almost 500 Amarillo Independent School District teachers in 32 schools indicates the program is working, officials said.

Overwhelming majorities of respondents to the survey observed Snack Pak students improving in a wide range of categories, ranging from behavior to performance.

“We’ve had a great success,” said Brandy Self, the principal at Glenwood Elementary School. “Kids would come to us on Monday tired, grouchy, so hungry sometimes, and it took a little while to get them to eat, to get them back on track.”

More than three-fourths of teachers said Snack Pak students beefed up their academic performance and concentration.

“These numbers … validate what we’ve been saying all along: ‘On an empty stomach, you can’t learn anything,’” said Dyron Howell, the founder of Snack Pak 4 Kids in Amarillo.

Barton is not surprised.

“You give kids proper nutrition, and they’re absolutely going to perform better in school,” he said.

The survey is not scientific, said Barton, who has a master’s degree in psychology and is pursuing a doctorate in clinical psychology. But it echoes what researchers already have learned about nutrition and human development.

“While we don’t have proof that this is causative — we don’t have scientific proof that the Snack Pak 4 Kids program is the reason for the improvement the teachers are seeing — what we do have is some really strong evidence, some support that that may be the case,” he said.

It’s not just about academics. Almost three-fourths of respondents said Snack Pak students’ behavior also improved. Good nutrition not only meets physical needs, it provides emotional security, Barton said.

“When it comes to human development, one of the best things that you can give children is predictability,” Barton said.

Without that, children mentally cope in what Barton called “survival mode.” Immediate needs become the primary focus and higher thinking becomes almost impossible, he said.

Barton cited as an example someone going three days without water:

“If you say to me, ‘Well, Joe, I’ll give you 10 gallons of water once you can give me a clear concise, bright conversation about the intellectual and psychological underpinnings of thirst,’” Barton said with thick sarcasm. “I’m going to say, ‘I can’t do it.’ I’ve gone three days without water. All I can focus on is getting that water.”

That’s the kind of impact Howell said he began working to reverse when he discovered Amarillo lacked a weekend backpack program like those found elsewhere in Texas, such as Food 4 Kids in Dallas, Backpack Buddy in Houston and Food in Tummies in Austin.

So Howell began meeting with AISD principals to discuss hunger. Finally, he founded Snack Pak 4 Kids in Amarillo under Panhandle Community Services in summer 2010.

“We have great parents who are very hard-working, but these are tough economic times,” Self said. “A lot of our parents work multiple jobs and aren’t home on the weekends, so we knew we had some kiddos that were feeding themselves and younger siblings.”

A third of children in the Texas Panhandle live in food-insecure households, meaning the children don’t always have food to eat at home and therefore rely primarily on food they eat at school, according to Feeding America, a hunger-relief charity based in Chicago.

That can create a cycle that is self-
perpetuating, Barton said.

“One of the most damaging things I see as a professional counselor is that they actually develop a sense that they’re not worth much,” he said. “That’s a very difficult thing to overcome for somebody who firmly believes that.”

But the problem is not irreversible, he said.

“People have to do something,” Barton said. “It’s not fixed with money. It’s not fixed with good thoughts. It’s fixed with people doing something.”

How to help

Several opportunities exist for getting involved Snak Pak 4 Kids. For more information, contact Panhandle Community Services at 806-342-6190 or contact Dyron Howell at

■ Sponsor a student for $133 a year or adopt a school

■ Volunteer to help fill Snack Paks

■ Organize a peanut butter or Pop Tart drive in your community

■ Follow Snack Pak 4 Kids on Facebook

Snack Pak 4 Kids Celebrates 2nd Anniversary

Friday, August 31st, 2012

Just two years ago Snack Pak started in the home of a couple feeding 10 kids at Rogers Elementary. It has now grown to serve over 2,900 kids in 9 school districts in the Texas Panhandle. This does not happen without all the sponsors, volunteers, donors, school staff, churches, and companies who have given a voice to hungry children.

Over the past 2 years we have heard many stories how this program has changed kids day, weekend, or perspective. A recent survey with over 590 kids shared some real comments from the kids that best express WHY we are doing this program.

How does the Snack Pak make you feel?

“It make me feel relieved because I know I don’t have to worry about lack of food.”
“Good but I will not need it anymore because my brothers got a better job so they can buy more food.”
“I feel happy because I will have food to eat over the weekend because my mom doesn’t have enough money to buy food.”
“Happy because we don’t need to starve again.”
“Supported by the school.”

What did did the teachers say about Snack Pak when 492 teachers were survey?

“This is a great program! I saw an improvement in attitude, behavior, and classroom performance among several of the students. The students looked forward to Friday when they could take their snacks home.”

“A little boy in my room was obsessed with food. He would try to hoard it in his desk and would sneak extra food if he could. After he began receiving the snack pak program, all of that behavior stopped. He is more focused on his work and is doing well.”


Snack Pak Partners with Southwest Dairy Farmers and Elanco

Tuesday, August 21st, 2012

Amarillo, Tex. August 21, 2012 Snack Pak 4 Kids (SP4K) is excited to announce that weekend snack packs provided to more than 3,000 food-insecure children in nine Texas panhandle school districts will now include shelf-stable milk. The addition is made possible through the support of Elanco and Southwest Dairy Farmers.

Snack Pack 4 Kids provides packs of non-perishable food to children identified by school staff as food-insecure, facing the possibility of missing meals for more than 60 hours while home for the weekend.

“ We are so grateful to the Southwest Dairy Farmers and Elanco for their partnership in providing the vital nutrition of dairy to these children facing hunger over the weekend,” said Dyron Howell, spokesman for the organization.

Elanco, a division of pharmaceutical company Eli Lilly and Company, is a global food solutions and animal health company focused on animal sustainability and productivity. Elanco partnered with Southwest Dairy Farmers, an alliance of dairy farmers from six states that is committed to educating the public on the essential nutrition provided by dairy products. Together they provided $50,000 to include the shelf-stable milk in the packs for 38 weeks.

“Dairy is an absolutely critical element of a healthy diet for a child. Southwest Dairy Farmers is proud to support this very important effort by Snack Pack 4 Kids to ensure these children have the most balanced and nutritious meals possible,” said Jim Hill, General Manager for Southwest Dairy Farmers.

Snack Paks 4 Kids seeks to expand its outreach to other communities with children in need, including areas in West Texas. To learn more about Snack Paks 4 Kids and for opportunities to donate or sponsor, please visit .

About Snack Pak 4 Kids
Snack Pak 4 Kids (SP4K) is a 501(c)3 weekend backpack program that that provides nutritious snacks for students who live in food-insecure homes. School staff identifies students, and bags are discretely placed in backpacks to be sent home each Friday. Additional snack bags are sent home for siblings younger than school age. The organization serves more than 3,000 students in ten districts in the Texas Panhandle: Amarillo, Bushland, Clarendon, Dalhart, Fritch, Hereford, Lockney, River Road, Tulia, and Walcott.

SP4K partners with various programs and school districts for administration and infrastructure support, volunteer services, and backpack delivery. The program continues to grow and serve more children with the generous support of private donors and sponsorships from various corporations and churches.

Visit for more information.

About Southwest Dairy Farmers
The Southwest Dairy Farmers is an alliance of dairy farmers from Texas, New Mexico, Arkansas, Kansas, Missouri and Oklahoma. These producers have pooled their resources to provide consumer education in nutrition, to promote dairy product use, and provide dairy product information.

For more information, please visit

About Elanco
Elanco is a global innovation-driven company that develops and markets products to improve animal health and food animal production in more than 75 countries. Elanco employs more than 2,300 people worldwide, with offices in more than 40 countries, and is a division of Eli Lilly and Company, a leading global pharmaceutical corporation. Additional information about Elanco is available at

2011-12 Snack Pak 4 Kids Summary

Monday, August 20th, 2012

Thanks to the generous support of many communities, businesses, churches, individuals, school staff, and volunteers over 2,900 kids were served last school. Summary of year.

2011-2012 Snack Pak 4 Kids Summary

• 9 school districts (Amarillo, Bushland, River Road, Hereford, Lockney, Clarendon, Walcott, Fritch, and Tulia)
• Planning to expand to Dalhart and San Antonio in Fall 2012 with others pending
• 2900 kids on program at 46 campuses across 9 school districts including 2 middle school pilots (Austin and Travis)
• Over 3,000 volunteers Sept 2011-June 2012
• Working on summer pilot with 3 schools, City of Amarillo, Maverick Boys and Girls Club, and churches. (invested $12,500)
• 88% of the kids on the program want the Snack Pak again in 2012-13 school year
• 96% of the 492 AISD teachers surveyed feel the program is beneficial
• 79% saw an improvement in academics
• 72% saw and improvement in behavior

How does getting your bag of food make you feel? (kid’s survey comments)

“It make me feel relieved because I know I don’t have to worry about lack of food.”
“Good but I will not need it anymore because my brothers got a better job so they can buy more food.”
“I feel happy because I will have food to eat over the weekend because my mom doesn’t have enough money to buy food.”
“Happy because we don’t need to starve again.”

Teacher Comments from Survey:

One of my students loves getting the Snack Pack it makes her feel special!! That has really helped her self esteem. Thank you so much for doing this for our kids.

My students felt loved and cared for by receiving these snack packs. I could see a big difference in attitude and behavior on Mondays after we started sending them home. Then I started to see a change on Fridays just knowing they would have food sent home for the weekend. What a great program! Thank you!

I DEFINITELY saw a lot of positive effects in mood and confidence among our Snack Pak participants. I love the program and am so thankful for it, please, please continue to do it!

Amarillo Parks and Rec Partners with Snack Pak to Feed Kids this Summer

Wednesday, June 20th, 2012

City of Amarillo Parks and Recreation team picking up the first of many bags to feed kids this summer over the weekend (Mesa Verde Park) and at the Gym-Kids program (Sanborn, Hamlet, and South Lawn) as part of our summer pilot. This does not happen without the generous donations, volunteers packing bags, and collaboration with the City of Amarillo working together to end hunger.