Local donors provide more than $47,000 for Food Bank BackPack Program

Hundreds of children in the Central Shenandoah Valley will receive their first distribution of take-home meals and snacks this month through the Blue Ridge Area Food Bank’s BackPack Program thanks in part to several local donors who have stepped up to fund the program this school year.

The following donors are supporting the BackPack Program this school year:

  • United Way of Greater Augusta: $10,000
  • Augusta Health Care Foundation: $10,000
  • Community Action Partnership – Staunton, Augusta, and Waynesboro (CAPSAW): $10,000
  • The Community Foundation of the Central Blue Ridge has given $7,000
  • The J&E Berkley Foundation: $5,000
  • The Staunton Kiwanis Club: $3,700
  • Woodforest National Bank: $2,100

The BackPack Program provides at-risk elementary school children with enough food for the weekend and school holidays throughout the school year. Children carry home bags filled with child-friendly items such as oatmeal, green beans, fruit, ravioli, 100% juice and shelf-stable milk, to name a few.  The food is discreetly distributed to children each Friday or the last day before a school holiday.

The Food Bank operates the program at three elementary schools in the area – Craigsville, Wenonah, and William Perry – and through James Madison University’s Gus Bus. A total of 657 children will receive food each week throughout the school year. Program costs amount to approximately $122,000 for the 2012-13 school year – about $187 per child.

“Thanks to the generosity of these supporters, and others like them, hundreds of children at risk of hunger will not have to go without food over the weekend or during the holidays this school year,” said Larry Zippin, CEO of the Blue Ridge Area Food Bank. “And with the community’s continued support, we’ll be able to sustain our feeding programs for a growing number of children in need.”

The latest American Community Survey by the U.S. Census Bureau revealed that 700,000 more children fell into poverty last year. The Food Bank’s BackPack Program, as well as three other after-school feeding programs – Operation Angel Food, Kids Cafe and Kids CanTeen – have become all the more important in meeting area children’s basic needs.

“Poverty and food insecurity have lasting effects on children’s ability to develop and learn,” Zippin said. “Our feeding programs give them a fighting chance to grow into productive, healthy adults.”

To support the BackPack Program, contact Michael McKee at 540.213.8404.

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