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TOPIC: Backpack Program
OUR VIEW: Don't let our county's children go without
School begins today around Hardin County.
That means some children will bounce into school with excitement, others with apprehension and tears.
Others — too many children — will finish the short school week not knowing if they will have enough food to sustain themselves until school next week.
The Backpack Program from Feeding America, Kentucky’s Heartland places food in backpacks of needy children to hold them over for the weekend when there won’t be school lunches in place.
The program exists in 33 counties Feeding America covers. It is sad there are children in need of food in Hardin County and in a county as prosperous as ours, as the headlines often read.
For every child in need of Backpack Program assistance, the cost is $80 for the school year. With that, students receive cereal, soup, fruit cups, canned goods and granola bars.
The program supports more than 5,000 youngsters in the 33-county coverage area.
And our help is needed. Feeding America is seeking residents to “adopt” a child to pay for the food they receive throughout the year.
About 500 children in Hardin County were part of the Backpack Program last year, but recent numbers suggest the number of adoptions was less than 200, said Milissa French, director of agency services and programs.
She said the need for adoptions is great.
We are faced with many challenges and strains on our finances in Hardin County. But how many of those challenges are more important than helping a hungry child when they are away from school?
This would be a good undertaking for civic groups, churches and individuals to step up and support the program any way they can. We have been fortunate to have a lot of great things happen in our county, and our unemployment rate is an indicator we are sheltered to a degree from national economic issues.
But when you hear hundreds of children are in need of food, it should hit at your very core.
Feeding America, even without additional support, still will make sure the kids have food. But it will become a domino effect, and the food and money used for the Backpack Program will bring about a financial strain on another program.
If monetary donations aren’t an option, French said organizations and businesses can host food drives and donate food to Feeding America, which also cuts down on costs of the Backpack Program.
Sign up to adopt a child by calling Feeding America at (270) 769-6997 or visit www.feedingamericaky.org and click on “Donate Now.”