Please Join the Backpack Club!

backpackPlease read this letter about the Backpack Program, a new local charity that we support!

Syfrett, Dykes & Furr

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We began the backpack program in January of 2011. We knew very little about what we we’re doing or how the parents or children would respond.

We set a goal of 100 students at our church as we began.

The response was overwhelming and we were able in Jan. to May to pack 187 backpacks a weekend.

An inventory of what we put in a backpack could be:

2 breakfast items (cereal, oatmeal or pop tarts)

2 lunch items (beanie weenies, chicken soup)

2 dinner items ( chef Boyardee, mac n cheese)

4 snack items (cheese crackers, fruit cups, pudding packs)

Spoons, we also add in a puzzle page for the kids

The cost of a pack back is just $5.00 a weekend or $20.00 a month. This year we ask people to sponsor a child for $200.00 for the year. This includes a full week of food during Christmas and Spring Break.

To sponsor a child, call Tammy Kirkland – 850-785-6530

At the beginning of the year we distribute back packs to the schools. We then package the food weekly in plastic bags and deliver them to the schools. The schools put the plastic bags into the kids back packs. We began this last year when one school had a bed bug issue and we did not want to bring that into other schools or homes. The initial cost of the backpacks are 3.25 at bags in bulk.

It’s sad that every parent doesn’t cherish their child as a gift like the scriptures tell us that they are. The real hard truth is that there are children who are on their own in the afternoons and on the weekends. That means finding food to eat and fining for themselves.

At the current time in Bay County we have 1400 students that are considered to be homeless. That means living in a car, living with a grandparent, in a hotel, rescue mission such as our rescue mission or Salvation Army. Homeless is defined that the parents don’t have an address of their own.

I have been asked some very fair questions of people who are hesitant about giving to this program and I understand the concern. Because week after week we unpack empty backpacks that smell with the stench of cigarettes and cigarettes are not cheap.

The bottom line is regardless of what is going on in the home and regardless of the reason the kids are getting food on the weekends it’s not the kids fault. It’s my prayer that one day when this child is in a position to make their own decisions and life hits them with hard times they will remember that when they were a child and they were hungry it was a church that helped. My prayer is that the child will find refuge in the Christ.

The positives we have heard from teachers is that the kids have improved academically and they very seldom miss school on Fridays when backpacks are given out and on Monday’s when they are to be returned. And in times past that was not the case.

On Every Tuesday at 1:30 we pack 252 backpacks that we take to 5 different schools. We are currently distributing our back packs to Hiland Park Elementary, Cedar Grove Elementary, Parker Elementary, Lucille Moore Elementary and Oakland Terrace. We have an open door policy and would love for you to drop by any Tuesday and check out the program.

The cost of a pack back is just $5.00 a weekend or $20.00 a month. This year we ask people to sponsor a child for $200.00 for the year. This includes a full week of food during Christmas and Spring Break.

There are 21 schools in our district that have grades pre k thru 5th grade and many organizations and churches are delivering backpacks to over half of those schools.

Thank you for allowing me to share with you and if you have any questions at all I would be happy to answer them.

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