BY JACLYN ROSE –
As this community traditionally does in times of need, a multitude of leaders met in a follow-up meeting Thursday to show their support, following a story that broke last week on MyPulseNews.com of the Lioness organization teaming with the Arkansas Rice Depot to feed hungry children of Polk County.
November 21 a group of local individuals representing different churches, business and civic organizations met to develop a plan for Polk County to adopt all local schools in the Food for Kids Backpack Program. This program, through the Arkansas Rice Depot, in Little Rock, Arkansas feeds 35,000 kids in 650 Arkansas schools annually. The Backpack Program, started 20 years ago, provides kid-friendly food for needy children to eat over the weekend. The Rice Depot delivers the food and works with school counselors and teachers who then fill the backpacks of children with enough food for the child and any non school age children on Friday afternoon.
The Arkansas Rice Depot is already involved in many Polk County schools but because of the expense of the program cannot provide all the food needed for the children until each school has been adopted.
On their own, many local organizations and churches have been collecting monetary and food donations for backpacks for local children for several years. The purpose of the collaborative meeting, lead by Patty Young of the Mena Lioness Lions Club is to join those efforts together to get each school fully funded.
Because of low overhead and outside donations, The Rice Depot can buy 6 lbs. of food for just one dollar and feed an entire school for $2,400 a year. Donations have already began pouring in from local organizations but as publication of this article, only one local school had been fully funded, with one other partially funded.
The excited group of community leaders that met today set a 30 day goal, with the hope to have every Polk County school fully funded by December 21, 2013. Anyone interested in supporting this cause can contact Patty Young at firstname.lastname@example.org or Janee Sweeney at email@example.com.
Donations can also be mailed to The Mena Lioness Lions Club c/o The Union Bank of Mena, 303 Highway 71, Mena, Arkansas 71953. In the memo line the write: The Backpack Program. Tax contribution letters will be available through the Mena Lioness Lions Club.