Blessing and being blessed
Several Midwest Food Bank locations offer assistance to school children in need. The Backpack Program in the Bloomington-Normal division provides help to 2,635 students in 33 local schools.
Students who qualify for free breakfast and lunch at the schools receive food. Volunteers come to Midwest Food Bank for a distribution of products that are shelf-stable and easy for children to prepare. Items include granola bars, applesauce, and microwave meals. The volunteers take the food to the school they serve and bag it for the students. Each Friday, the students receive a bag of food items to help them through he weekend.
Teachers have reported an improvement in the ability of these children to focus on Monday. In addition, several of the schools have commented on what they have seen. Their comments are here:
"Several families have shared what the food bags mean to them. There are times this is the only food in their homes. Sadly, some kids worry about not getting food during school breaks."
"One six-year-old little girl thanked me because they didn't have food in the cupboard."
"Several of the students have mentioned that they don't get much food over the weekends and the food helps feed them and their siblings over the weekend."
The power of the Backpack program goes beyond helping the students:
"The impact this program has on families is amazing. However, it also has a significant impact on our volunteers. We have parent volunteers coming together with church members and forming positive relationships. We have elderly volunteers in their 80s and 90s that have taken ownership and pride in the program and our school. Thank you for all you do for our school and community family to bring us together."
Midwest Food Bank is blessed to be a part of this important ministry.