During the 2016-17 school year, over 650 elementary and middle school children in DeSoto County schools will receive backpacks filled with food to take home each Friday. Volunteers from local businesses, clubs, organizations and government agencies are invited to spend one hour every other week to pack the backpacks. Over 11,000 backpacks of non-perishable food were distributed in the 2015-16 school year and we expect that number to continue or even rise. Children enrolled in West Elementary, Nocatee Elementary, Memorial Elementary and DeSoto Middle School will benefit from this program.
The students at DeSoto High School are served through a “Food Pantry”. This program began in May 2013 and the need and impact of this program has been magnified many times over. Located on the grounds of the high school, the pantry provides a readily accessible source of food to low-income students. Shelves are kept stocked with non-perishable foods so students may stop by during regularly scheduled distribution hours. The pantry is open two(2) hours each week and is operated by caring volunteers.
DCEF continues to work for funding sources and grants to sustain this program. Your financial support is always needed. You can donate on the website, mail a check or if you are a school district employee you can sign up for payroll deduction.
We also welcome you at any time to help pack. You don’t have to commit to every other week…just come when you can! We always need you. It’s one(1) hour and one of the most rewarding hours you will ever spend. Call Melba Barnwell at 863-494-0261 for more information…2016-17 Schedule
WE ARE ABLE TO DO THIS BECAUSE OF YOU!
Residents at Live Oak R.V. Resort & Golf Course Committed to Community Involvement
Not only did the attendees share in great food and fun, but the evenings’ event raised a total of $ 3,581 for the BackPack program. “We want to raise funds that benefit especially the children of DeSoto County. We want the money we raise here to stay here,” said Gary Kramer, Charity Events Chairman / Live Oak RV Resort. “In addition to the fundraiser, we also have 20+ residents of Live Oak who have volunteered to help pack the BackPacks every other Wednesday.”
The All Faiths Food Bank Program has been in operation since 2010 and is in its third year as a project of the DeSoto County Education Foundation. “The missions of the BackPack Kids Program is to help alleviate child hunger in America by providing hungry children with nutritious and easy to prepare food at times when other resources are not available, such as weekends and school vacations,” stated Jenna Jones, Director of the Nutrition Education and Programs at AFFB. “Each week we provide food for 655 youngsters in PreK-8th grade. In 2014 AFFB provided 21,864 BackPacks to children in need in DeSoto County. This school year we are estimating that we will reach 24,890 backpacks by the end of the school year. This is a 13% increase over last year.”
“We are so happy to have the financial support and the “packing” support of the residents of Live Oak RV Resort,” stated Melba Barnwell, the BackPack project volunteer, “they seem to really enjoy being here! It makes Wednesday’s packing special!”
If you are interested in this program and finding out how you can help, contact the Executive Director at www.Director@DeSotoEducationFoundation.com