Throughout Patrick County, elementary school children in all five of the small communities receive supplemental food through a program that has come to be called “Backpack.”
The program originated with the local food bank and later became sustained by churches and other donors around the county.
The program provides food for chronically hungry students who need snacks and meals over the weekend when school is not in session to provide breakfast and lunch. Each school has its own system for identifying recipients, collecting donations, packing the bags, and distributing the food to students.
This year, Hardin Reynolds Memorial School has received donations of food and/or money from the following organizations: The Hill Sisters “Calendar Girls” fund-raiser, Unity Baptist Church, Salem United Methodist Church, Stuart Baptist Church, Critz Grocery, the HRMS Junior Beta Club, and Pleasant View Baptist Church. The most recent donation was made by Marilyn Gorman through the Donors Choose website. Her donation was given in honor of Bob Gore of Stuart.
Pam Hylton, school counselor, reported that grants of food and other student life essentials are a new feature of the Donors Choose program. In the past, she has received Donors Choose grants for professional development, family life materials, a digital camera, a color printer, an iPad mini, a TV and a Wii with games for students to play on special occasions by submitting requests for these materials. The awards she has received on behalf of students over the years now amount to a total value of over $5,200.
Hylton encourages all educators as well as potential donors to visit the website www.donorschoose.org to post project requests and/or to donate to this worthy cause.
The Backpack Program at HRMS welcomes monetary or food donations and can also use volunteers to do the shopping, stock the pantry, and pack the bags. This is a wonderful community service opportunity that can be arranged by calling HRMS at 694-3631 for more details.
School personnel and student recipients greatly appreciate the generosity of all donors who have supported this cause.