In the coming weeks, RC’s community service office will be starting a food distribution project called Micah’s Backpack.
The project, based off of a like-titled program stationed in Blacksburg, Virginia, aims to provide grocery bags containing six weekend meals to 30 students at East Salem Elementary School.
“A lot of people don’t see the need,” said Charisse Brass, an AmeriCorps volunteer working in the Community Service office this school year, who is spearheading this project. “East Salem Elementary mirrors the status of Roanoke schools, where between 80 and 90 percent of students are on free or reduced lunch programs. And when kids only get food during the school day, then what does that leave them for the weekend? Micah’s Backpack will give these kids the food they need when they otherwise don’t have access to it.”
According to a recent report by ABC News, approximately 17 million (nearly 1 in 4) children in the United States are affected by hunger. Childhood hunger has been linked to numerous problems, including inhibited brain development, a greater susceptibility to health concerns such as childhood obesity, and a diminished immune system, leading to more illnesses.
The cost is a little under $8 for a bag of 6 meals, Brass added. “It doesn’t cost much to make a big impact in the lives of needy kids.”
If the project proves to be successful, the hope is to expand it to include more students and potentially more schools.
For students that are interested in helping with Micah’s Backpack, the program will meet to pack bags Thursday evenings at 5 PM in the back room of the chaplain’s office. Delivery will take place on Friday mornings. Anyone with questions can see Charisse Brass in the chaplain’s office.
For students interested in the numerous service opportunities provided by the community service office, like “Roanoke College Service” on Facebook for contact information and continuous service updates.