School Backpack Food Program To Extend Throughout Summer Months
Darren Doyle, story and photos:
The Chamber of Commerce Luncheon was held today at the Edmonson County Public Library, sponsored by St. John's Church, who also runs an organized thrift store and food pantry, which is available to the public.
According to Barbara Fitzhugh from St. John's Church, a partnership has begun between St. John's and Brownsville Missionary Baptist Church in order to extend the Family Resource Center's Backpack program throughout the summer months. Currently, the program only runs during the school months.
Mrs. Fitzhugh welcomed the crowd by introducing and thanking elected officials in attendance, Judge Executive Wil Cannon, Sheriff Shane Doyle, Magistrate Joe Durbin, Rep. Michael Lee Meredith, and Sen. Steve Meredith, for always supporting the efforts of St. John's Thrift Store and Food Pantry.
T.J. Dennison, also from St. John's Church, discussed the Thrift Store and Food Pantry's contribution back to the community. Since the store's opening in 2014, the non-profit community organization has given $32,952.50 in assistance and $19,919.98 in food, according to Dennison.
Brownsville Missionary Baptist Church Pastor, John Chidester, discussed the partnership between the two churches, plus other organizations.
"We saw a need to extend the backpack program through the summer months and a partnership between Brownsville Missionary Baptist, St. John's, the Senior Food Pantry, and the Edmonson County Family Resource Center, it's coming together."
Feeding America is the organization that oversees the backpack program, while local agencies see that the food is distributed to the proper qualifiers.
A total of 122 Edmonson County children participate in the program, funded mostly through donations. It sends a bag of food home with participating students every Friday to last them throughout the weekend. Invitations were sent out to each participant for the summer extension, where 73 have signed up.
Chidester said organizations and donors came together to raise $14,000 in only three weeks, which will go toward the program.
Chamber president Maegan Hance also addressed the crowd and thanked St. John's for their sponsorship of today's lunch. It was free to the public.
Gary Miles with Feeding America also spoke today. The organization serves over 5,000 kids in 42 counties in KY. He said the organization delivered more than 1.5 million pounds of food in Edmonson County last year.