Volunteers Bringing Weekend Meals to Laurel County Students

By: Dara Rees Email
By: Dara Rees Email

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

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  • by ladybug on Feb 20, 2009 at 05:42 AM
    Been there ,done that ..But there was no program like that when I was growing up in eastern Ky. I went to bed many many times hungry;there just never seemed to be enough to eat.It's hard to make a child understand that there's no money for food and your parents are to proud to apply for welfare.This sounds like a wonderful program,please keep it going;I know that the kids appreciate it .
  • by Kellie on Feb 19, 2009 at 11:04 AM
    Laurel County is mostly republican, we must have voted wrong.
  • by Me Location: Jackson Co on Feb 18, 2009 at 09:48 PM
    It burns me up to think that any child in this state or country goes hungry. There's no excuse for it. If the parents are low income, the food stamp program is more than adequate to fill that need for food. If the parent does not qualify for food stamps because they make too much money, then shame on them for not making sure their children get fed. It's not the child's fault, but what kind of parent can spend money on everything else and neglect to buy food for their children? Or have too much pride to ask for food stamp assistance and let their child pay the consequences? The family life of these hungry kids needs to be looked at, but then, most children probably wouldn't admit to being hungry if they thought their family would get in any trouble. God bless them and all those who feed them - all over the world.


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