"We can all easily agree that in an ideal world no child should ever go hungry, but the sad reality of it is that even in the United States of America – in virtually every community -- there are children who are chronically undernourished. For a host of reasons, without help from outside their families, they suffer the physical pain of hunger and its negative effects on their development, productivity, and behavior. To alleviate this problem, most schools provide free and reduced price school meals, but even those children who benefit from such programs still go hungry on weekends and other days when school’s not in session. So-called backpack programs exist to alleviate the effects of those days without proper nutrition. By providing children who are at risk of hunger with a bag of child-friendly, nonperishable food each Friday throughout the school year, a backpack program can reduce this nutrition gap and help children return to school on Monday ready to learn.
To reach out to the most at-risk of students in the Warren community, WVMUMC will collaborate with Wildwood Baptist Church to conduct a backpack program to benefit designated students of Warren High and Junior High Schools. (Warren Elementary School is already covered by a backpack program offered by a Warren church, and the schools of the Kountze ISD have long benefited from a program overseen by Christian Loving Care.) On alternating months, each Friday and the last school day before school holidays, WVMUMC and Wildwood Baptist will take turns acquiring food, packing it into food bags (“food packs”) for distribution, and delivering it to a school staff member (usually the nurse), who will distribute the bags to those students designated by the schools to be served by our program. WVMUMC will be responsible for the months of September, November, January, March, and May for a total of 20 weeks of this coming school year.
Would you like to help? Beginning in January of 2018, our backpack program will be supported by our Outreach budget, but the anticipated cost of the program may vary due to the prices and availability of food items and the number of supported students, so donations will be welcome. An occasional check with “Backpack” on the memo line will help ensure that our program is adequately funded. This may be especially important for the duration of 2017 when costs will be met with funds that aren’t part of the existing 2017 budget. There are some unbudgeted funds available for this outreach, but available funds may be scarce by the end of the year.
Also, periodically, a “supplemental food of the month,” in addition to the regular food of the month that goes to our supported food pantries, may be announced to support our backpack effort. These specifically identified food items can be placed in our donation box, allowing us to save money each month that our church is responsible for providing the food packs. Also, be alert for any calls for volunteers to help fill the food packs. As we enter into this new outreach mission, we’ll gain more and more of an appreciation for what help we’ll find useful in supporting the program. If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to contact Don Schreiber of the Outreach Committee.
Please give your support, through financial and food donations, and your time and prayers, to help our church in this much-needed effort to enhance the lives of some of 'the least of these who are members of [His] family.'"
Thanks for your good work,