Karen Goldberg Smart Sacks
In 2005, Manna partnered with Whole Foods and the Montgomery County Public Schools to found the Smart Sacks initiative. This program grew immensely under the direction of Manna's Karen A. Goldberg, former Director of the Smart Sacks Program. In October 2012, Karen passed away after a valiant fight with cancer. In her honor, Manna renamed the program she tended to as the Karen Goldberg Smart Sacks Program. Today the Smart Sacks program is a partnership including Manna, local businesses and organizations, and elementary schools in Montgomery County. Together we provide children with bags full of healthy foods every Friday so they have food on the weekends when there are no school meals to sustain them.
The Goldberg Smart Sacks program currently operates in more than 60 elementary schools, feeding more than 2,320 children each week. The Karen Goldberg Smart Sacks program is a perfect example of how a community comes together to solve a problem. Business and community organizations, Manna, and elementary schools work collaboratively to help children at risk of hunger. Children who participate in the Karen Goldberg Smart Sacks program are better able to succeed in school. Teachers have remarked that children come to school on Mondays full of energy that they lacked before participating in the program. An unanticipated but welcome outcome of the program is that parents of children in the Karen Goldberg Smart Sacks program are more involved in their children's schools. It is an important component to breaking the cycle of hunger and poverty and provides children with the opportunity to learn and succeed at school.