Backpack Buddies of Poplarville to provide meals starting August 23

Published 7:00 am Thursday, August 16, 2018

Backpack Buddies of Poplarville, a non-profit organization providing non-perishable food items to children in the Poplarville School District, will begin providing backpacks starting Thursday, August 23.

It will be the organization’s fifth year to provide food to children in need, founder Carol Williams said.

Last year, the organization provided meals to 135 children weekly for 38-weeks, she said.

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Williams said teachers identify children in need of food at the beginning of the school year and provides a referral form to the backpack coordinator at each school in the district.

The coordinator then sends a note to the child’s parent/guardian stating their child qualifies for the Backpack Buddies program and can receive enough food to last them through the weekends. After the parent/guardian returns the signed form, the student is added to the list, Williams said.

Every Thursday during the program, volunteers prepare the required backpacks and deliver them to all four schools in the Poplarville School District, she said.

Each backpack is individually packaged with non-perishable items such as macaroni and cheese bowls, peanut butter crackers, snack-sized spaghetti and ravioli, fruit cups, cereal, granola bars, juice boxes and more, Williams said.

Williams said each year the organization sees an increase in the number of children in need of food.

“It’s a sad thing… but good that we can support them,” she said.

The organization spends about $500-$600 weekly to purchase the food. Funding is provided through grants, donations by local businesses and contributions from community members, Williams said.

Backpack Buddies is currently accepting donations in the form of food or funding. Donations can be dropped off at First United Methodist Church of Poplarville or through the organization’s Facebook page by clicking the donate button.