The Cove in Twisp is reaching out to the community for help in supporting the Methow Valley School District’s “Friday Food Program” for students in need during the coming school year.

The program, which provides food for students to get them through the weekends, was launched as a pilot effort last spring through a partnership of The Cove, the school district and Red Shed, a program of Room One in Twisp.

Cove Executive Director Glenn Schmekel said in a letter that is going out to valley residents this week that his organization packed about 60 backpacks for six weekends and distributed them to students from kindergarten through high school. The program is modeled after three dozen programs around the state for students who may benefit from extra nutrition over the weekend.

“The program was a hit,” Schmekel said in the letter, “as students returned empty backpacks the following Monday and expressed gratitude for the extra meals.”

High school students helped with packing and distributing the food, Schmekel said.

Almost half of the school district’s students qualify for free or reduced-price lunch at school, Schmekel noted, so the need is great. The program is anonymous, with prepackaged bags of food left discreetly for students in their lockers, outside a classroom or in a backpack.

Schmekel said that in the 2013-14 school year, the program is aiming to serve 75 students. The Cove has already ordered food for the program, Schmekel said, and now needs financial support.

It will cost about $150 to provide weekend meals for a single student through the 36 weekends of the upcoming school year, so The Cove and the district are seeking 75 individuals who are each committed to supporting one student for the entire year. But the program will accept donations of any size, Schmekel said.

In addition to its food bank, The Cove offers short-term financial assistance to those who need it, and operates Jamie’s Place Adult Family Home.

To contribute, send checks payable to The Cove to P.O. Box 895, Twisp, WA 98856. For more information, contact Schmekel at 997-0227, or email glenn@thecovecares.org.