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      Conway Medical Center kicks off Capri Sun Drive

      Smart Snacks has been established to provide healthy weekend snacks to kindergarten through fifth grade students, and their siblings, who qualify for the federal subsidized lunch program. It is a program supported and funded by the Conway Medical Center's Foundation which is a 501 c3 nonprofit organization and it has gained the cooperation of civic clubs, churches and school organizations in order to function.

      Smart Snacks serves Horry County, South Carolina including the communities of Conway and Aynor and the areas of North Conway and East Conway. According to the US Census Bureau, in 2011, 16.1% of our population lived below the poverty level.

      There are 51 public schools in Horry County, 26 of which are elementary schools. Horry County is the third largest school district in the state with the county having gained over 10,000 during the last decade. A total of 37,927 students are enrolled with 17,569 attending kindergarten through fifth grade. Approximately 60% of students participate in the subsidized lunch program. The Smart Snacks program is serving children at four elementary schools with subsidized lunch participation greater than the average for the county. The 2012-2013 school year saw an increase in the number of participating students in the Smart Snack program up to 725 students up from 662 in the 2011-2012 school year, and there is currently a waiting list of more students to participate.

      ? Serving 135 students at Conway Elementary which has a total of 708 students and subsidized lunch participation at 53%

      ? Serving 250 students at Waccamaw Elementary which has a total of 776 students and subsidized lunch participation at 82%

      ? Serving 225 students at Homewood Elementary which has a total of 674 students and subsidized lunch participation at 79%

      ? Serving 115 students at Midland Elementary which has a total of 516 students and subsidized lunch participation at 64%

      In addition to subsidized lunches, our school district provides breakfast for many of these children to ensure that they can make it through the day. However, at the end of the week, many are sent to a home with little or no food until the next school day. With Smart Snacks, we hope to ease the hunger pains and improve the behavior and performance of these children. Each Friday these children, selected by their school counselors and with approval from their parents, are given a sack filled with easy-to-open, no-preparation required food to nourish them until they return to school. The sack includes a variety of any four of the nutritious, nonperishable food items listed below;

      ? cereal bars,

      ? fruit cups,

      ? pretzels,

      ? granola bars,

      ? crackers,

      ? baked chips,

      ? trail mix,

      ? and apple sauce.

      However there one item that is always a constant in the snack pack and that is two Capri Suns. Capri Sun was chosen as the drink to provide in the snack pack because it is the most nutritious and lowest in sugar of the fruit drinks. It is also easy for young children to serve to themselves and something that kids will drink.

      Smart Snacks has been in operation since March of 2005 and has provided over $216,000 in provisions for children in Horry County. The total funding for this year's Smart Snacks program is projected to be at least $51,200, an average of $1,600 per week. Of this total cost almost $10,000 is spent on Capri Sun ALONE!

      This is where we are asking the community and Food Lion to step in and help. The idea for Together We Can Fill the Van came about to help offset the 20% portion of the food expense that is spent on Capri Sun. Each week the food and Capri Sun are bought and delivered to the schools in the CMC Healthreach Van. The van is completely filled with these snacks and drinks, so why not try to fill the van up with Capri Sun and use it all throughout the school year. With the extra money 126 more children could be fed each week during the school year.

      During the week of November 4-11 we are asking CMC employees, the Horry County community and Food Lion to participate in a Capri Sun Together We Can Fill the Van Drive to reach our goal of collecting 4,800 boxes of Capri Sun to sustain Smart Snacks for one full school year. Capri Sun can be dropped off at front lobby of CMC. Purchase Capri Sun at any of the following Food Lion stores and deposit in the special drop boxes located there:

      ? Hwy 701 S.

      ? Hwy 701 N.

      ? Belle Terre Blvd.

      ? Hwy 544

      ? Hwy 501 East

      Conway Medical Center is committed to Smart Snacks and sees the program as an extension of its mission to help improve the quality of life of individuals living in the CMC service area. It is CMC's mission to continue to grow the program with more support from our community with programs like Together We Can Fill the Van. Please consider being part of our growth efforts. For more information on Smart Snacks or any programs of the CMC Foundation please contact Berns Massey, Executive Director at 843-347-8058 or Blakely Roof, Assistant Director at 843-347-5895.