“Weekend Wildcat” program helps Shiloh at-risk children

SHILOH – Holly Keller, who currently serves as a Shiloh District 85 board member, started the Weekend Wildcat program in 2014 with another Shiloh parent to provide food to food for children who are at risk for hunger during the weekends. 

“We began in the basement of my house,” Keller said. “Currently, a group of volunteers pack 25 bags a week at Shiloh Middle School for children who are at risk for weekend hunger.”

Keller said that while these are kids that would typically get breakfast and lunch provided to them at school during the week, they may have less access to food over the weekend. 

She said that the Wildcat Weekend program is confidential and only the Shiloh school social worker and teachers are aware of who receives food items. 

“Our school social worker sends home permission slips to determine if the family is interested. If so, then we provide a bag each week to each child in the family,” she said. 

The food items are non-perishable and child friendly for the kids to be able to access the food independently. 

“Each week we pack a shelf stable milk, cereal, fruit, granola bar, veggie, and either canned pasta, tuna, soup or mac-n-cheese.”

Keller said that on longer weekends, volunteers will often pack extra food for each child. 

“We do get the cereal and milk from Operation Food Search located in St. Louis.  All the other food items are donated.”

Due to the success of the Weekend Wildcat program, Keller said that other district’s such as O’Fallon District 90 have adopted similar programs.

This week – a Scott Air Force Base squadron collected food for the Weekend Wildcats. Food was delivered Tuesday morning at 8 a.m. 

Boxes are located at Shiloh Elementary School and the middle school for people to donate food items.

The program also takes tax deductible monetary donations – the program’s finances are managed by the Shiloh United Methodist Church and checks can be made out to them with “Weekend Wildcats” in the memo line. 

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