Most schools in Columbia County have a BACKPACK FOR FOOD program in which students go to a private area in the school and pick up a plain backpack that has been filled with food to take home for the weekend. On Monday, they return the empty backpack to be refilled and picked up again the next Friday. At RMS, over 80% of the students are at the free or reduced-lunch level, and over 10 students participate in the Backpack program every Friday because the only meals they sometimes have are the ones they get at school. School volunteers pack the backpacks each week with food donated by staff and community members. Some local churches adopt a certain school and furnish the food needed to meet the needs of their students.
Four of the students who participate in the RMS Backpack program were students in the classes that grew the potatoes in the 2013-2014 year. Our goal was to send potatoes that the class grew home with these students, and we did on two Fridays! The first Friday students picked up their backpacks and a bag of potatoes was a unique experience; the students who get backpacks are kept a secret to avoid embarrassment, but that Friday those four carried their bags of potatoes and showed every student they could find. Their proud faces showed what one student called out to me across our crowded cafeteria the next week: “Mr. Cole, I fed my family!”
YOU CAN HELP!
As you shop for your groceries, pick up any of the following suggested items and drop them off at the RMS office. They’ll be gratefully accepted to pack a backpack and sent home with a student in need.
Canned meals like spaghetti, stew, hearty soups and canned meats
Macaroni and cheese cups, noodles, and cups of noodles
Breakfast items like pop tarts, cereal, breakfast and snack bars, grits and oatmeal
Canned fruit, pudding, and fruit cups
(Anything that can be eaten uncooked or by adding hot water.)