BackPack Pals Reaches Milestone
BackPack Pals volunteers reached a milestone on Dec. 3 packing 803 bags for children in the program.
BackPack Pals, a program of the Moore County school system, was created to meet the needs of children known to have little or nothing to eat over the weekend. The program was implemented in one school for 25 students in September 2005.
The program now serves 22 schools with more than 800 children participating.
Startup funds came from a grant from Bayer Crop Science and a donation from St. Joseph of the Pines.
The program is designed to provide nutritious foods to children identified by school staff. Children in primary, elementary and middle schools are recognized, with input from teachers, teacher assistants, nurses, counselors and social workers as candidates for the program.
Once the identification process is complete, letters are sent home to obtain permission from the parents/guardians for the child to participate.
Volunteers play an important role toward the success of BackPack Pals, working at the Sandhills Food Bank and serving a school. Volunteers are assigned to a school and are responsible for coming to the Sandhills Food Bank every Thursday, filling bags and returning them to the school for distribution on Friday.
Prior to the volunteers arriving at the Food Bank, another crew of volunteers meets at the Food Bank and sets up the assembly line with products that will be used for that particular week. Between 8,000 and 9,000 items are packed every week.
More than 40 Moore County churches support the program weekly by donating 50 items for the backpacks. Organizations, civic clubs and individuals have been very supportive of the program since its beginning.
On Thursday, the last day for BackPack Pals this year, Santa (Alan Riley, of Dugans Pub) and his elves were at the Food Bank with special gifts and special treats for the children and lunch for the volunteers.
Anyone needing more information or wanting to volunteer or make a donation can contact Linda Hubbard, volunteer coordinator for the school system, at (910) 947-2342 or email@example.com.
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