It is a shocking number. Officials say 30 percent of the students in Laurel County do not get enough food during weekends, and that number is growing. A group of volunteers in London is working to turn those numbers around.
The Backpack Club started 5 years ago packing food for 12 students to take home over the weekend, and now they pack nearly 1,400 bags for students throughout the county.
It looks like a brown bag lunch, but it means a lot more to the student taking it home.
"A lot of them will tell you, if it wasn't for this program, they wouldn't have anything at all to eat." Stacey Sheppard started The Backpack Club with a few other volunteers from the Faith Assembly of God Church. She says the staggering statistics pushed them into action. Hundreds of donations and 5 years later, the program is reaching more students than they imagined.
"Anything that we can do to provide an extra service for them and let them know how much that we care about them and that we love them and that there are people that care about them without wanting anything in return," says Sheppard.
Sam Grigsby is one of the dozens of volunteers spending their Wednesday night packing the 14-hundred bags of food. He says, "When I was a kid, I would have been a backpack kid. And if you've never went to bed hungry, you really don't understand how important this program is."
"If child is hungry, they're not going to be able to work as efficiently as if they have a full little tummy!" says volunteer Lola Reed.
"These kids look forward to going to school if for no other reason than to get something to eat," says Grigsby.
Sheppard hopes this program provides working families across Laurel County the extra help they need to get by. Stacey Sheppard says they have not reached all the students spending the weekend without sufficient food, but she says that is their goal.
The Backpack Club
Faith Assembly of God Church
390 Faith Assembly Church Road
London, KY 40741