Backpack program provides weekend food for needy
The special backpacks, which are sent out of Cold Harbor, Laurel Meadows and Battlefield elementary schools, are packed full of food individual sized pasta and soup meals, peanut butter, macaroni and cheese, juice boxes, fresh burberry bags sale fruit, popcorn, pudding, cereal and special milk that don’t require refrigeration.
According to Jennifer Scott, one of four volunteers who handle the program, which is offered by Walnut Grove Baptist Church, the effort grew out of concern among several church members about how many children go hungry in the Mechanicsville area.
After hearing about similar backpack programs in other communities, the volunteers worked with a food pantry already operating at the church to get the effort off the ground in 2011.
Scott, Shari Hayden and Alan and Donna Fearnow burberry bags sale take care of most of the packing and delivery, while the burberry bags sale Walnut Grove Baptist Church food pantry helps gather the food for the program.
School counselors and principals work together to determine which students might benefit most from extra weekend h burberry bags sale elp.
Due to privacy concerns, Scott pointed out that the volunteers don’t know the children. It’s all handled confidentially.
The only information they get about the kids they’re feeding is whether they’re boys or girls, so gender appropriate backpacks can be sent home with each child.
“One thing we were worried about was what kids would say if they noticed these children were carrying another backpack,” Scott said. That hasn’t been an issue, she added. “The ladies in the office tell us the kids are just thrilled to get them. They tell other kids, ‘We get a backpack full of food!'”
Scott said these programs are only recommended for the youngest students, who are far more dependent on their parents for food than middle or high school students.
“Obviously, there are more children who can be fed,” Scott said. “We’d like to grow the program and serve more students.”
Without help, the church can’t handle much beyond the 30 students they’re already feeding, Scott said.
To expand into new schools Pole Green and Rural Point elementary schools would be next on the list more food, money and volunteers are needed.
Monetary donations, including cash or gift cards to BJ’s, Walmart and local grocery stores are especially beneficial.
Because the church operates a food pantry, some food items can be purchased from regional food banks at a deep discount.
Food items also are a big need, especially the non perishable milk and individual Chef Boyardee pasta cups, both of which are expensive.
Single serving macaroni and cheese, pretzels, crackers, pudding, popcorn, juice, soup, tuna kits, granola bars, cans of soup and full sized jars of peanut butter are needed.
Those wishing to support the backpack program by check may do so by mailing it to Walnut Grove Baptist Church, 7046 Cold Harbor Rd., Mechanicsville VA 23111. Note in the memo line that the money is to be directed to the backpack program.