Food for kids: Food drive to be held to benefit Backpack Buddies of Poplarville

Published 7:00 am Friday, August 7, 2015

GIVING BACK: Pictured, volunteers for Backpack Buddies of Poplarville at First United Methodist Church place non-perishable food items inside bags during the month of April. File photo.

GIVING BACK: Volunteers for Backpack Buddies of Poplarville meet Thursdays at First United Methodist Church to place non-perishable food items inside bags to hand out to local schools. File photo.


The citizens of Poplarville are making strides to feed hungry children in the community. Lily’s Boutique is now holding a food drive until Aug. 14 to raise awareness and collect food to be donated to the Backpack Buddies of Poplarville, a non-profit organization that provides non-perishable food items to children within the Poplarville School District.

Lilian McIntyre, the boutique’s owner, said she started the food drive in an effort to give back to the community.

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“I knew I wanted to do a food drive for a local charity so I got in contact with one of the ladies that works with the organization,” McIntyre said. “The charity still goes a little unnoticed because it’s newer than others and we hope the community gets involved.”

Donations of kid-friendly food items can be dropped off at Lily’s Boutique located at 1403 S. Main St. Ste. B in Poplarville. People who donate three or more items will receive 15 percent off their entire store purchase, McIntyre said.

The boutique is accepting the following approved food items: snack-sized Chef Boyardee spaghetti and ravioli, individual easy mac and cheese bowls, individually packaged pretzels, peanut butter crackers, individually packaged Goldfish crackers, fruit cups, raisin boxes, vegetable cups, juice boxes, cereal or granola bars, individual cereal boxes and pudding or Jell-o cups.

The boutique is open Monday through Friday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Saturday from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.

The organization’s founder, Carol Williams, said they appreciate the community’s support. The 2015-2016 school year marks the organization’s second year of offering food items to students in the district.

The program receives non-perishable food items and monetary donations from the community, Williams said.

“This summer, a lot of our area churches donated money to our program with money raised from their vacation Bible school,” Williams said.

The local program is housed at First United Methodist Church of Poplarville where volunteers meet every Thursday at 1 p.m. to stock bags with strictly non-perishable food items for local children to eat during weekends. The bags are then hand-delivered to schools across the community, including Poplarville Lower Elementary, Poplarville Upper Elementary, Middle School of Poplarville and Poplarville High School, Williams said.

The names of participating students remain anonymous. The bags are given to the teachers, who then place the bags inside each child’s backpack while they’re either at lunch or at recess.

Recently, the organization was designated as a non-profit and Williams said they’re currently in the process of applying for grants. Williams said this will allow them to help more children in the community.

During the last school year, the organization provided food to 48 students within the district. Williams expects that number to increase this year after she received about 14 calls during the summer from parents interested in getting their child involved in the program.

“I’m overwhelmed that we’ve got that many hungry children based on the response we’ve gotten. We’re hoping to start giving out food to schools next week,” Williams said.

Parents can sign their children up for the program anytime throughout the school year. Permission forms are available at each school within the Poplarville School District. Forms can also be found at the organization’s Facebook page at Backpack Buddies of Poplarville. Parents can submit the forms to their child’s respective schools, Williams said.

Williams encourages the community to donate money or the appropriate food items to their organization. People can also elect to sponsor a child for $120 a year, Williams said.

For more information, contact Williams at 601-549-2187 or Trish Davis at 601-550-6995.