The community is encouraged to “Pack the Bus” full of non-perishable food items from 9am-5pm at the Walmart North (2196 Emporium Drive) and Walmart South (2171 S Highland Ave). A Jackson-Madison County school bus will be parked in between the door entrances with volunteers accepting food and monetary donations.
“This event is pivotal for our Snack Backpack ministry,” according to Lisa Tillman, RIFA Executive Director. “Each year the program continues to grow, which in turn, requires more food and funds. This will be a great event were individuals, church groups and businesses can support an effort that truly makes an impact in our community.”
How can a child focus on solving a math problem or memorizing a new word in school when they are trying to ignore the persistent pangs of hunger? Teachers and counselors have found that in some instances, Monday morning comes and they are forced to compete against hunger for the attention of their students. Unfortunately, many school children in our community, who participate in the National School Lunch Program, go home to little or no food on the weekends. The RIFA Snack Backpack ministry works to fill this gap by providing kid-friendly, easy-to-prepare, nutritious food items for children who are at risk of going hungry on Saturdays and Sundays.
RIFA’s Snack Backpack ministry started 10 years ago with love and concern for one school and 25 children. At the end of this past school year, RIFA was providing 630 backpacks of food each week to children at 13 local elementary schools. We anticipate serving over 700 students in the 2014-2015 school year. All participating children are selected based on need by school personnel.
While we do rely on food donations from the community, the donations simply have not kept up with the dramatic increase in the number of children participating in this program. With each bag costing $3.78, the anticipated cost for the Snack Backpack program for this school year is over $115,000 in food cost alone!
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