The directors of a volunteer program that provides non-perishable food on the weekends to the families of low income students in the Scottsbluff and Gering school districts were honored Thursday with the Scottsbluff Kiwanis Club’s annual Youth Service Award.
Missi Iasillo and Tracey Steele run the Puppack and Catpack programs. Both programs individually send home meals for eighty to ninety students each weekend. Iasillo says the number of homeless students being assisted is increasing and “it breaks her heart” to know there are students and families in that situation.
Steele says the homeless is not just families staying in cars or under a bridge, but those many times that are staying with relatives or friends because they can’t make it on their own.
The two women say they have approximately 100 people that help them in various ways to get the food that is provided or pack the backpacks that are sent home with students. And they note the program’s $30-35,000 budget comes entirely from donations.
Kiwanis Board member Jeri Goodman says the women’s charitable work embodies what the award is all about.