OUR SEVEN CORE VALUES:
Sadly, the economic downturn that has caused millions of Americans to lose their jobs, homes and sense of financial well-being has also produced a drastic increase in the number of people who go to bed hungry at night.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture recently reported that nearly 50 million Americans – including almost a quarter of the nation’s children – lacked consistent access to enough food in 2008. That was the highest figure recorded since the department began keeping such statistics in 1995.
Efforts to reach needy children are a particular priority because good nutrition is crucial to kids’ long-term physical and mental development.
Local food banks across the country have been running several programs targeted to at-risk children, including a “backpack” program for public school students who qualify for free or reduced-price lunches. The Backpack Program provides hungry children with food to take home over the weekends and out-of-school times. Backpacks or other containers are stocked with nutritious, child-friendly, easy-to-prepare food. The backpacks are then discreetly distributed to children on the last day before the weekend or holiday vacation.
The Backpack Program concept was developed in an Arkansas food bank, after a school nurse asked for help because hungry students were coming to her with stomachaches and dizziness. The local food bank began to provide the school children with groceries in non-descript backpacks to carry home.
With the current harsh economic circumstances, many students right here in South Carolina are in crisis.
Harvest Hope partners with Columbia schools that have 70% or more of the students on free or reduced lunch. The school identifies up to 25 students in dire need. Each Friday, these students are given a plain backpack filled with specific food-items. Enough food is in the backpack to feed that child until he or she returns to school on Monday. The kids return the backpacks on Monday, and the teachers and counselors fill the backpacks for the next weekend. The kids get their backpack filled each weekend throughout the school-year.
Unfortunately, however, Harvest Hope does not have the supplies or financial means to meet these growing needs. Providing the backpack program for just one Columbia school costs approximately $10,000 per year (25 kids for the school-year – less than $10 / kid / weekend).
But on Saturday, December 12th in Columbia, ‘Operation Backpack’ will give you an opportunity to help meet that need!
Where? Eric’s San Jose parking lot (Garner’s Ferry Rd. next to Target)
When? Saturday, December 12th, 9 am to 4 pm
What do they need?
Canned Green Beans
Boxed Mac & Cheese
Canned Chicken or Tuna
Pop-Top Cans of Pasta/Meat (like Chef Boyardee)
Small Cereal Boxes
Personal Care Items (Soap, Toothpaste, etc)
We have a crisis right here in South Carolina, and together we can to show Christ’s love to those in need. (And what a great opportunity to show our kids a tangible way to love their neighbors!)
For more information, contact the Harvest Hope Food Bank at (803) 254-4432.
And if you know of any other food drives coming up in your area, please let us know!