BackPack Pals Ready to Go Back to School
By Hannah Sharpe
As students excitedly, or grudgingly, prepare for the start of a new school year, the last thing that should be on their minds is where their next meal is coming from.
BackPack Pals, a program operated by the Sandhills Branch of the Food Bank of Central and Eastern North Carolina, has spent the last six years working to ensure that students do not have to worry about that problem on the weekends when they are not in school.
Every Friday during the school year, BackPack volunteers deliver bags of food to schools, where teachers and guidance counselors discreetly distribute them to needy students.
Students put the food in their backpacks and are able to have food for the weekend, without worrying about potential ostracism from their peers.
Bags contain about 11 individually wrapped food items, such as crackers, raisins, pudding packs, juice boxes, -applesauce, fruit cups and cereal.
In the last six years, BackPack's director, Linda Hubbard, has seen demand grow as word about the program spread.
What began as a distribution to 25 -students at one school has grown to -feeding more than 1,000 students by the end of the 2011-2012 year, with more than 35,000 bags of food distributed to schools all over Moore County.
Those looking to donate to the program can drop off food or monetary donations at the Sandhills Branch of the Food Bank of Central and Eastern North Carolina at 195 Sandy Ave. in Southern Pines.
For more information about the program, contact Linda Hubbard at the Food Bank at (910) 692-5959, extension 2407.
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