Chamber of Commerce CEO, Meredith Caddell, and a member of the Back Pack Buddies Committee,
shows a typical snack packet that will be sent home with students who are deemed hungry in SSISD.
Back Pack Buddies Program Expanded
to All of SSISD, for Coming Year
by: Bobby McDonald
Last year we reported an outreach program that had been instituted by Wesley United Methodist Church, for students at Austin Elementary School, that were identified as being hungry on the weekends, where church members sent home snacks with the children to make certain they were fed. Well, that same idea has been expanded for the 2012-13 school year, for all students in SSISD. "When it was brought to the attention of community leaders that over 50% of the students in SSISD may be experiencing nutritional needs, on the weekends, when school lunches and breakfasts are not provided, it became apparent that something needed to be done," expressed Meredith Caddell, a member of the the committee for Back Pack Buddies. "The thought of a child in our community going hungry, and us not doing something about it, was beyond comprehension!"
The program that sends a packet of snacks home with children on Friday afternoon to be consumed over the weekend, is being offered to students who are identified as having the need by their teachers, bus drivers, or other staff members of the SSISD, advises Caddell, who spoke to the SSISD teachers and staff on Tuesday, during their in-service training at the Hopkins County Civic Center. "We want to make certain that the children who really need to snacks are receiving them, and who better than their teachers and the administration that they come i contact with each day, during the school day, is there to identify them?" expressed Caddell. "We want you as teachers to monitor and watch your students and let us know those that are coming to school hungry, those that are not provided for on the weekends, and those who truly need the service!"
Local churches have volunteered to become partners in the program, as follows:
Wesley United Methodist Church - Travis Elementary
League Street Church of Christ - Douglas Intermediate
First United Methodist - Lamar Elementary
Shannon Oaks Church - Bowie Elementary
First Baptist and The Way Bible Church - The New 3rd & 4th Grade Elementary
St. Phillips Episcopal Church - ECLC
Davis Street Baptist Church - Alternative Learning Center
The students in the SS High School and Middle School will be covered through a grant that has been applied for through the Sulphur Springs Rotary Club, that will provide the funds for these students.
"This program is designed for the students that runs to the breakfast line on Monday morning, because they've not been provided for on the weekend, the student that is noticeably hungry each and every day, because there isn't enough money to buy adequate nutrition, in the home, and the students who may be 'falling through the crack,' because of absent parents or an adequate home life to sustain healthy nutrition," continued Caddell. "We want to 'even the score' and help these students to overcome their poverty, through providing them with a sound basis for learning, which begins with having enough food to eat!"
The sponsoring churches in Sulphur Springs are asking their members to provide funds and/or snacks to provide for these children, and the food packets will be delivered on Friday afternoons, with the hope of sustaining these children over the weekends, when nutritious meals are not provided. If you would like to become involved, please contact one of the sponsoring churches, to offer your funds or help.