Little Budget Big Bounty

Children learn the importance of budgeting and giving back

Learning to budget and shop for groceries efficiently is something many don’t learn until they are adults.
But children who participate in Big Brothers Big Sisters in Manhattan, Kansas, get a head start on this skill, while also learning the importance of helping others through the Little Budget Big Bounty project.

Shopping for a cause

The K-State Parents and Family Program, Hy-Vee and Cats’ Cupboard gave $20 Hy-Vee grocery store gift cards so Big Brothers Big Sisters pairs — both Bigs and Littles — could buy food and personal hygiene items for Cats’ Cupboard, the food pantry at Kansas State University.

“My Little understood we were helping out people, and we talked about why food pantries exist and who uses them,” said Brent Friedeman, a Big volunteer. “I think he was surprised by the need for a pantry on campus but quickly started to enjoy the activity.”

For Brent’s Little, and others who participated in this shopping-to-give-back experience, the act of sticking to a budget was eye opening and challenging.

“For my Little, I think shopping has so far been a passive experience, but really getting down and crunching the numbers, he started to understand how expensive things were compared to one another,” Brent said. “This was a great activity because it is improving the skills of the youth while getting them to think about being a caring individual. It was the definition of a win-win.”

Why it’s growing

Little Budget Big Bounty has happened twice so far, but it is already expanding. K-State Parents and Family Program, Hy-Vee and Cats’ Cupboard will continue to support this effort, and Mama Fang’s Asian Market in Manhattan has also joined the program.

“During our second round of the Little Budget Big Bounty, Big and Little pairs bought over $800 worth of groceries!” said Hannah Illies from Kansas Big Brothers Big Sisters. “Littles enjoyed getting to come up with their own grocery list based on Cats’ Cupboard’s suggestions and were given a special budget sheet to help them add up the amounts. One Little made it a game to find exactly $20 worth of food to zero out the gift card and had to search for the perfect item that needed to be $1.84.”

Philanthropy drives the Little Budget Big Bounty program, creating a circle of learning and helping others. “This program is made possible by generous contributions from parents, families and community members,” said Anne DeLuca, director of the K-State Parents and Family Program. “It is special to us because it helps kids in the community, supports local grocery stores and helps restock the food pantry. Any donations provided toward this programming will benefit all three areas at once!”

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