10/11/12 It is difficult to imagine in our close-knit, happy community there are children who go to bed hungry. But it is a fact. And this fact was brought to the attention of Miller’s Senior Living Community residents as 7th grader Autumn Wilson explained her passion for the “Blessings In A Backpack” program.
“I’m talking to you today because I’m in health class,” stated Wilson. “During this grading period we were challenged to get involved and find something to do that will make a difference in our community.”
Wilson went on to explain that last year her sister, Makayla, talked about a classmate that did not have enough food to eat on the weekends. During the school year Makayla would come home and talk about how this classmate got to take a special back pack home from school on Fridays. The back pack had food in it to help the family get through the weekend. With the help of her mother Tracy, the girls found out more about the program that provided the back pack and they decided to get involved.
Wilson explained to the audience that Blessings in a Backpack is a national organization helping 62,000 people in 437 different schools in 42 states and three countries. The program came to Plymouth in 2005 with 2 students getting help. This year the Blessings in a Backpack program is able to feed 100 students; however, there are 841 local students that qualify for the program.
Through working on her health class project Wilson has learned more about the program and she has made it her personal goal to raise enough money to fill one back pack for one child for one year. The amount she needs is $80.00. Once she has raised that amount she also plans to get involved with the program by helping fill the back packs that are sent home with the children.
Wilson pointed out that there are several big corporations and organizations who have donated nationally to the Blessings in a Backpack. For example Ronald McDonald House has donated a $10,000 grant to the cause. Others have given food and back packs.
“$80.00 isn’t really all that much when you think about it,” said Wilson. “My sister and I are lucky, we’ve never been hungry, so it was hard for me to imagine there were kids who didn’t have enough to eat. $80.00 for one school year is less than $1.00 a day. I want to challenge people to give up a pop or candy bar and use that money to help fill back packs.”
The Miller’s residents asked many questions about the organization including how they could help. Wilson asked if she could use the Miller’s facility as a collection point for monetary and/or food donations. The residents agreed they would like to help in this way. Marketing Director Anna Corbett stated she would like to start the collection by donating a case of individually wrapped chips for the project. Wilson gladly accepted the donation. For more information about how you can help call 574-936-9801 and ask for Cindy Flagg.
Photo: Autumn Wilson accepts a donation from Anna Corbett of Miller’s Senior Living Community for her “Blessings In A Backpack” project.