Breaking the cycle of hunger can take years and the devastating effects of malnutrition are often overwhelming. But can by can, box by box, volunteers with BackPack Beginnings are chipping away at childhood hunger with the help of A Simple Gesture, (ASG).
Locally, A Simple Gesture is a food collection program that supports food banks and pantries in Greensboro and Guilford County. BackPack Beginnings (BPB) is fortunate to be one of the recipients of food donated by this organization.
Westminster Presbyterian Church agreed to be the first sponsor of ASG. The initial start-up began in April 2015 as they enrolled food donors, volunteer drivers and other volunteers from the congregation. The first pick up of food donations was in 2015 with more than 200 donors contributing over 3,800 lbs. of food. On June 9, 2016 donations almost tripled with 19,048 lbs. of food collected from the community! BackPack Beginnings received 9,243 lbs. The rest was divided between Greensboro Urban Ministry, Out of the Garden and Jewish Family Services.
We are tapping into a resource and making it incredibly simple for hundreds of people to give on an on-going basis.”
The partnership between ASG and BPB has impacted children experiencing hunger in a simple but effective way. ASG works with BPB to find out which food items they need most. Donors pick the requested items up during their weekly shopping trips and leave the items in a green bag on their front porch on a designated Saturday. A volunteer picks up the bag full of food, leaves a new bag, and delivers the food directly to BPB.
Leslie Isakoff, Executive Director of ASG, says they are making it simple for more people to donate and provide children with food during the summer months. “We are tapping into a resource and making it incredibly simple for hundreds of people to give on an on-going basis. This has allowed BPB to open six new school pantries, several which are open during the summer. In addition, for the first summer ever, children are receiving backpacks of food all summer long.
In the past, children have struggled to get food in the summer and hospitals have seen severe spikes in malnutrition and hospitalizations in children. This summer, children will have access to food every weekend all summer long ,” she says. Although BPB’s programs continue to expand, there are still schools in the county on the waiting list.”
Isakoff says she envisions the partnership with BPB to grow and prosper. “We believe every child that is hungry should have access to this incredible program. Our goal is to help BackPack Beginnings continue to take schools off the waiting list and provide ongoing support to make sure they have enough food to reach every child.”
If you would like to become a BackPack Beginnings volunteer, please visit our volunteer page. Want a cool green bag for your house? Visit A Simple Gesture to sign up and find out how to get involved.
Written on 6/24/16 by blogger Carole Perkins.