Bill and Marcia McDonald have taken on a much-needed labor of love. Bill and Marcia volunteer and coordinate the Backpack Program at Centura Public Schools. The program provides much needed kid friendly food to elementary age students. Each week Bill and Marcia purchase nutritious, kid friendly food, pack it in plastic bags and send the food packs to Centura. School volunteers place these food packs into backpacks, anonymously, so children who are food insecure will have food over the weekend. Food packs are provided during the traditional school year and summer school.
Food insecurity affects more than the stomach. Children who are hungry or worrying about food are less focused on learning. The simple act of providing food is monumental to a child’s success.
The backpack program started providing food five years ago. A little over thirty food packs are sent to the school weekly. Marcia stated that most people are shocked to discover such a need in our community. Marcia has learned that it isn’t necessarily a lack of funds that leaves a child food insecure, sometimes it just that the child needs food that they can prepare themselves. The packs contain easily prepared food that doesn’t require much cooking.
The program costs approximately $6,000 per year. The program is funded by private donations. The Centura Education Foundation has provided grant funds for this program throughout the years.
Upon learning of the Backpack Program at Centura, Tara Janda, Farm Credit Services of America of employee encouraged Bill and Marcia to apply for the Farm Credit Services of America Working Here Grant. The grant was approved and the backpack program received $1,000 towards the continuation to this very important program. The United Way also provided $1000 in funding for this program. The volunteers of the Backpack Program are grateful for these generous donations. If a group or individuals are interested in donating, please contact Bill or Marcia, as there is always a need.