NASHVILLE, Ind. — Clara Stanley saw an advertisement in her local newspaper about the Brown County Weekend Backpacks program and knew she needed to be involved.
As a mother, she understood the importance of making sure children had food they could prepare on the weekends. Many children have parents who work and leave them to their own devices. Meals are often one of those ways kids take care of themselves.
Stanley took the lead on this year’s Watermelon Festival, Saturday, Aug. 29, which featured activities, a silent auction and watermelon carving contest to raise money for food-filled backpacks.
The backpacks go to students who qualify for the free lunch program in two of the county’s elementary schools, Helmsburg and Sprunica, as well as the Brown County Intermediate School. According to Jackson Township Trustee Sandy Higgins, the third elementary school, Van Buren, is solely supported by a church in that township.
The backpacks include four breakfast items, four lunch items, four dinner items and two snacks. Stanley said volunteers try to get items that are healthy as possible, and, as funds are raised, fresh fruit is the next goal for the backpacks.
As of now, the backpacks include healthy options that students can prepare themselves, like peanut butter and jelly and macaroni and cheese. Each backpack may be shared between family members.
While Stanley organized the fundraiser, a team of other volunteers spearhead backpack efforts. To help out, contact the appropriate person in your area of interest:
- Donna Niednagel, volunteer organizing chair, firstname.lastname@example.org
- Linda Todd, food collection chair, email@example.com
- Gloria Berryman, backpack distribution chair, firstname.lastname@example.org
- Marylin Day, fundraising chair, email@example.com
- Jan Swigert, communications chair, firstname.lastname@example.org