In 2010, Rose, a Parish Nurse at Trinity Lutheran Church learned that some students have very little or no food on weekends. She met with the principal of Cannon School, which is close to the church, to discuss implementing a backpack program. The following year, Meade Park School was included in the program. We received some donations and a grant which allowed us to include North Ridge and Southview Middle Schools and Danville Lutheran School. Then, in 2015 Liberty and Edison Schools were added, bringing our number of students at risk for hunger to over 200 students. We outgrew Trinity Lutheran Church and Life Church was gracious enough to give us a large space in their Hub in 2015.
How are students identified for the program?
The teachers and social workers identify students, especially on Monday mornings, who are food deprived during the weekend. A parent or guardian is contacted and a permit is sent home for a signature, giving permission to send food home with the student on Fridays.
What foods are packed in the bags?
A different menu is planned for each week. The menu is repeated each month. It consists of soups like tomato, chicken noodle, vegetable, and bean & bacon. We also provide mac & cheese cups, vienna sausages, ravioli, pork & beans, spaghetti & meatballs, pudding, fruit cup, cereal, crackers, and juice boxes. On the days that the students receive tomato soup, they also take home a bag of Cheez-Its.
What is the process for sending the food?
Volunteers come to the Life Church Hub to pack bags on Friday mornings at 8:30. The bags are counted to determine the number of food items needed. The volunteers use the menu for the week as a guide and pull the food from the shelves. They load the food onto a cart and wheel it to the packing room where food items are removed from packages and placed in separate stacks. The items are counted to be sure the numbers match the number of bags that need to be filled. Volunteers pack the bags for one school at a time then load them into vehicles to be delivered. They are taken to the designated school and given to the students at the end of the day.
Volunteers help with food pickup at stores at the beginning of the year and about midway through. Our volunteers open larger cases of food items in preparation for distribution, pack bags and deliver them to the schools.
Sources of Revenue
We receive donations from individuals, businesses, organizations and churches. Grant proposals are written and submitted. Food drives are organized by students in summer Bible school, schools and other organizations. All monetary donations are used for food only. With the growing number of students and increasing prices we have to use every dollar for food. Bags are purchased for us by Woodforest National Bank and incidentals are donated by volunteers and others.