BACKPACK BENEFIT. Through its BackPack Program, Feeding America, Kentucky’s Heartland has direct and immediate impact on the lives of children.

The on-going program makes sure that students in food-insecure households go home each week with a backpack loaded with more than a dozen ready-to-eat or easy-to-fix food items. This helps ensure the children don’t go hungry between Friday’s lunch and Monday’s breakfast at school.

This week everyone who appreciates this idea has a chance to help. Now through Friday, agencies in 34 participating counties across FAKH’s service area are conducting an online fundraiser. The broad support from other charitable agencies demonstrates just how important and well respected the BackPack Program is.

“Nearly one in five children in our service area face hunger,” Jamie Sizemore, FAKH executive director, said in a news release. “That’s why it’s so important to support the BackPack Program.”

Links to each county fundraiser can be found at feedingamericaky.fenly.org/drives. Check it out before the program wraps up at 5 p.m. Friday.

COOKOUT WITH A COP. The Elizabethtown Police Department is devoted to community initiatives. The agency and its individual officers and staff are quick to step up and frequently go beyond the call of duty.

In recent years, its community policing programs have helped officers become closer to the community and vice versa. A pair of community cookouts next month will do more of the same. The events are scheduled for 6 to 8 p.m. Aug. 4 at Wesley Hilltop House and 6 to 8 p.m. Aug. 5 at Haycraft Park.

Officer Chris Denham, a department spokesman, explains the importance of events of this type.

“It is very important for citizens to meet officers on a level playing field, in an unofficial capacity, if you will,” he said. “I truly believe that if folks would sit down and talk to one another, we would find we all have far more in common than we have differences.”

It’s good to see police reaching out whether it’s across a cup of coffee, sharing a hot dog, participating in a blood drive or stopping to shoot hoops with neighborhood kids.

The human touch keeps the community relationship with local law enforcement strong.

A YOUNG LEADER. On the verge of entering middle school, Ashanti Gibbs already is recognized as a leader.

The 11-year-old has been recommended for and will attend the National Youth Leadership Forum: Pathways to STEM in Memphis later this summer. It’s staged by WorldStrides, the largest provider of educational travel and experiences in the United States. Through a series of fundraising efforts, she collect $2,495 to cover conference tuition and expenses.

She’s obviously an organized and driven individual. In school, she takes part in gifted and talented opportunities and participates in the robotics club. She’s also an active volunteer having contributed in Mission Hope for Kids; Warm Blessings soup kitchen; Feeding America, Kentucky’s Heartland; Shattered Glass and the Salvation Army, among others.

She has aspirations of being a brain surgeon and hopes to get some exposure to the medical field through the leadership forum.

Having just finished G.C. Burkhead Elementary and preparing to start this fall at East Hardin Middle School, Ashanti should be commended for her accomplishments and willingness to serve others.

This editorial reflects a consensus of The News-Enterprise editorial board.

This editorial reflects a consensus of The News-Enterprise editorial board.

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