Backpacks for Kids

Our "Backpacks for Kids" program is available to meet the needs of hungry Marshall School children during weekends when other resources are not available.

"It's a weekend supply of food".

Marshall Advisor
Marshall Church of Christ Works Towards Lessening Hunger
Published April 7, 2011
By DONNA DAINES Staff Writer
Posted and reprinted by permission.

The congregation of Marshall Church of Christ, located at 14734 18 1/2 Mile Road, knows that hunger knows no calendar, and with the help of a $5,000 grant from Care Source in Ohio, bands together to ensure that weekend food gets to the neediest of Marshall Public School students. "This money, in addition to donations from our members, is used to buy food from the Food Bank of South Central Michigan. Once each month, congregation members come to the church and help pack up four weeks of food in large, sturdy backpacks for needy children to take home for weekend food. Meijer donated 100 backpacks and we bought 60," said Marshall Church of Christ Minister Barry Chaffin. The contents of the backpacks vary each week so, for example, the same type of cereal won't show up two weeks in a row. Each back pack contains cereal, shelf-stable milk, a snack, applesauce or other canned fruit, canned vegetables and a protein. For the March packing session, items included canned beef stew, macaroni and cheese, Kellogg's Nutrigrain bars, microwave popcorn, boxed stuffing mix, canned fruit salad, and double dark chocolate nutrition bars. "The average cost of food in each back pack is $3.60. We fill packs for a full month. This month, there were 84. The packs have color-coded tags for weeks 1 through 4," said Chaffin. School counselors and principals have identified three students at Hughes School, eight at Gordon and 10 at Walters as needing this kind of weekend food support. The church drops off four backpacks for each of the children at the beginning of each month. The child takes a back pack home on Friday and returns it the following Monday. "We started this project in January. The $5,000 grant we just received from Care Source should pay for two and a half years of backpack contents. The Lord has blessed us with this service. If there are families in need out there, we want them to know about this," Chaffin said. The church's food supply program extended to 48 families in March, as well. On the third Monday of the month, the church provides a food distribution day, when enrolled families are given a specific time to come and pick up food. "This is a full-time job for me," said Marilyn Torrey director of the church's two-year old food program. "I've got my hands full. I'm so proud of our congregation's support of this work. "The next family food distribution is April 18. Boys from the Calhoun County Juvenile Home come to help unload and carry food out to the people's vehicles, which we greatly appreciate," she concluded.

For more information on these programs, call 781-4752.