Blessings in a Backpack
A group of volunteers gathered in the cafeteria of Altama Elementary School on Friday morning for what has become a weekly task.
They dumped full cases of single-serving oatmeal, applesauce, ramen noodles and macaroni and cheese onto the lunchroom tables. Minutes later, after praying in a circle, they were repackaging the food into individual bags to provide weekend food for children in the Blessings in a Backpack program.
They pack bags each week for the 468 Altama students who qualify for free and discounted lunches, coordinator Deborah Nash said.
“That’s greater than 95 percent of the kids,’’ Nash said. “Sixty percent is the nationwide average.”
Among the volunteers Friday was Scott Reid, director of The McGladrey Classic golf tournament on St. Simons Island. Last year, the sponsoring Davis Love Foundation held a Wiffle ball tournament with PGA Tour players, wives and some of the students from Altama. The tournament raised money through sponsorships and concessions, Reid said, and the foundation gave $15,000 to Blessings in a Backpack.
“That went a long way for us to raise our $40,000 annual budget,’’ Nash said.
The average weekend packages add up to $2.10 and are intended to provide not just food but also some healthy snacks, such as raisins and granola bars, when children are home and can’t get school lunches.
“Today, we have five or six items,’’ Nash said.
The program stretches its budget taking advantage Friday of a buy-one-get-one free sale on applesauce, she said.
The McGladrey and the Wiffle ball tournament are still months away, but Reid said, “We’re going to do it again next year.”
Source: Dickson, Terry (2013, April 29). Food goes home in the backpacks of Glynn County elementary school students. Jax Air News. Retrieved from http://jaxairnews.jacksonville.com
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