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Love Thy Neighbor Project

8/28/2017 (Permalink)

Back Sacks

About the Program

The Back Sacks Program serves to eliminate food insecurity by providing weekend meals to students in need at McMinn County High School and Etowah City School. Back Sacks are prepared by volunteers and members of Education Angels, our partnering student organization. The Back Sacks are then delivered to the guidance office at McMinn County High School and the principal's office at Etowah City School, who oversee the distribution process. The weekend meals typically include a canned protein, vegetable, fruit, grain, juice or breakfast drink, and a few snacks.

The Love Thy Neighbor Project is working to expand this program both within McMinn County High School, Etowah City School and other schools in need. If you’re a parent of a student who needs a Back Sack, please contact us at 423-746-5273.

Fighting Childhood Hunger

How can a child focus on solving a math problem or memorizing a new word when she or he is trying to ignore the persistent pangs of hunger?

Across the country, teachers and school nurses have found that in some instances, Monday morning comes and they are forced to compete against hunger for the attention of their students. More than 18 million children qualify for free or reduced price meals through the National School Lunch Program, the fuel that they need to get them through the week (via Feeding America). Over 70 percent of students in the Athens City School System and 62 percent of students in the McMinn County School System received free or reduced lunch during the 2013-14 academic year.

What happens to these children when they go home over the weekend? Many students who are on these free and reduced lunch lists go home every weekend and have very little to eat until the beginning of the next school week. Childhood hunger impacts one’s ability to cognitively process new information, stay attentive during class, and is a significant predictor of chronic illness (Weinreb et al., 2002). Studies show that students who go hungry are not able to focus as much on school work, and when students are not able to focus on school, they do not perform well in the classroom. When these students reach high school, it's tempting to drop out of school, in order to help support their families. This continues the cycle of poverty on to the next generation. The Back Sacks Program offers assistance to break this cycle and keep students in school.

Credit: Tennessee Wesleyan University

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