The Beginnings - 2010
In September 2010, several concerned individuals from Main St. United Methodist church in Bedford were inspired to provide a bag of food for the weekend, for children at Body Camp Elementary School in Bedford County. Over 71% of the children there qualified for free and reduced lunches during the school day, and were subsequently identified as food-insecure.
Sadly, in May 2015, the school board voted to close Body Camp Elementary, and the students were reassigned to Goodview, Moneta and Huddleston schools.
The 2015-2016 School Year
Despite the school closing, the core organizers of the Backpack Program felt committed to continue to provide the children with weekend food bags. In fact, both Moneta and Huddleston schools served over 50% of their students with free and reduced lunches. (Note: at that time, Goodview ES was receiving weekend food from another program).
Recognizing that that the program expenses would double despite the frugality with which food items are purchased, a Board of Directors was recruited, and an application for a non-profit 501(c)(3) designation was completed and approved. In September of 2015 Food For Kids: Weekend Pack-A-Sack Program was “born”.
Previously packing 119 bags per week, Food For Kids was now serving over 200 children per week. Subsequently - no surprise - expenses likewise doubled.
At the end of the school year in May 2015, Food For Kids had distributed 6,373 bags of food to the children at Moneta and Huddleston schools. While we celebrated this success, the Board also learned that the weekend food program for Goodview had run out of funds and stopped serving those children earlier in the year.
2016-2017 Food for Kids
Troubled by the needs of the children at Goodview, the Board of Food For Kids voted unanimously to include an additional 150 children from Goodview Elementary School in the weekend-pack-a-sack program beginning September 2016. This addition resulted in a new operating budget of just over $120,000.
At the end of this school year, over 11,300 bags of food were distributed .
2017-2018 Food for Kids
Toward the end of this school year, there was a need identified for a weekend food program at Montvale ES, wherein 58% of the students there are served free/reduced lunches. Logistics were developed and the addition of Montvale was initiated in September 2018, approximately 50 students.
Registration for the Program is processed by the schools; a permission form is sent home with the children for their parents to complete. Weekly, the school gives the Program a count of those asking for food assistance. The food bags are delivered to the school and the school distributes the bags to the students at the close of the school day on Friday.