A twelve year veteran of school social work, Erica Vasilee says Rankin Elementary is the busiest school she has ever worked in. It is also the neediest. 95% of the children in the school live below the poverty line and 97% receive free and reduced lunch. With numbers like that, it is also a school very much in need of the services BackPack Beginnings provides their students.
For the 2012-13 school year, fifty children got a BackPack Beginnings bag of food every Friday to sustain them over the weekend. There is always a waiting list, with more and more being added every month. Most referrals come to Erica from the teachers. They are the ones who see the effects that going hungry has on a child’s education. Erica sees what hunger does to a child’s emotions. When they come to her office hungry, they are more sensitive and get upset more easily. When they have enough to eat, they are more relaxed and can handle the ups and downs of being a kid a bit better.
The children at Rankin are among the most disadvantaged. The school cannot keep enough clothes, toiletries, and school supplies in stock for their children. The children are appreciative of anything they are given, especially food. In the mornings, they run to get in line for breakfast, and there are always smiles during lunch. The children who come to the social worker’s office each week to get their bag of food from BackPack Beginnings are always eager to see what they are getting. They are also very thankful that people care enough to help them.
Written on 8/5/2013 by Blogger Thea DeLoreto