09/06/13 Thursday morning several members of the Plymouth Rotary Club joined the founders and volunteers of ‚ÄúBlessings in a Backpack‚ÄĚ to help pack this month‚Äôs food packages.¬†
Ellen Stillson and Chris Garner started the program three years ago with just 25 children at Menominee Elementary School.¬† Blessings in a Backpack is now serving 200 hundred students weekly in grades K through 8 in the Plymouth School Corporation.¬†
This unique program was designed to feed elementary children whose families qualify for the federal free and reduced lunch program, and have little to no food on the weekends.¬† Results show that children participating in the program raise their test scores, improve their reading skills, show positive behaviors, have improved health and increased attendance.¬† The students are given their satchel of food on Friday so that they have breakfast and lunch on Saturday and Sunday.
It costs $80 to feed one child for the entire school year.¬† Blessings in a Backpack offer the students kid friendly, non-perishable food from three of the four essential food groups.¬† Items include but are not limited to granola bars, instant oatmeal, raisins, apple sauce, crackers, macaroni and cheese and soup.
This month‚Äôs shopping trip happened at the Plymouth Wal-Mart, a partner in the program.¬† On Thursday, Laurie Sutter Past President of the Plymouth Rotary Club met up with Stillson and Garner and purchased the food necessary to feed all 200 children for the month of September, a bill of about $1,800. ¬†¬†Sutter explained that the Plymouth Rotary Club applied for and received a district simplified grant to assist the Blessings in a Backpack program in Plymouth.¬†
Chris Garner said they still need $10,000 to feed the children for this school year.¬† An individual or organization could adopt one or more children and donate $80 or more to feed a child this school year.¬† Garner said, ‚ÄúThe donation no matter how small is helpful to the program.¬† Whether someone donates $20 or $200‚Ä¶. one hundred percent of the donation goes to feed the children.¬† You can make an online donation to Blessings in a Backpack through their¬† website or mail your contribution to Chris Garner c/o Blessing in a Backpack, 12954 6th Road, Plymouth, IN 46563 or even drop off a check at one of the participating schools.¬†
Garner also noted that they are in need of 30 family size boxes of mac and cheese.¬† If someone would be interested in donating you can contact her through email at firstname.lastname@example.org or call her at 936-0613.