United Way of Hastings collected several hundred bags of food during its first Stuff the Bus, a food and fundraiser to help support the Food4Kids program.

UWH wrapped up the drive Monday Aug. 27. Although there are no exact numbers available yet, Executive Director Mari Mellick estimates that they were able to collect several hundred bags.

The Stuff the Bus was created to raise awareness of the hunger some Hastings students face over the weekend when they don't have access to school meals.

UWH was set up at Coborn's, Cub and Walmart the week of Aug. 20, collecting items for the Food4Kids zip bags sent home on Fridays.

"UWH is so grateful for the community's support of our first Stuff the Bus event to help students be successful when they return back to school," Mellick said. "The food and cash donations will go toward Food4Kids which is the initiative UWH started a few years ago when it was identified that Hastings students were going to school hungry on Monday mornings. This is a success for our community when we can prioritize helping students in our community arrive at school nourished and ready to learn."

The Food4Kids in partnership with the Hastings School District and 360 Communities over three years has grown from 20 bags per week in two schools to 150 bags a week to the three elementary schools, the middle school and the alternative learning center.

Each bag provides a child in need with two breakfast items, two lunch items and two dinner items to keep them fed over the weekend.

For information on what you can do to help the Food4Kids program, visit www.unitedwayofhastings.org