The LaGrange County Community Foundation recently awarded a $5,000 grant to the Blessings in a Backpack program at Lakeland schools.
Led by volunteers from LaGrange First United Methodist Church, the program provides weekend meals to children in LaGrange County who might otherwise go hungry. More than 50 percent of elementary students in the Lakeland district qualify for the federal free and reduced meal program.
Since 2012, volunteers from the church have met regularly to pack meals through a partnership with the national Blessings in a Backpack program. The nonprofit provides the framework for local communities to set up their own programs to help curb food insecurity.
Presently, the volunteers provide 60 children at Wolcott-Mills Elementary School with 38 weekend meals during the school year. The volunteers fill plastic grocery bags with the food such as granola bars, peanut butter, tuna, crackers, cereal, juice boxes, and etc., and the teachers put the bags in the students’ personal backpacks.
The grant will allow the group to expand the program to serve Lima Brighton and Parkside Elementary Schools, adding 50 children who will receive regular weekend meals.