By Amanda Moss
Hamlet Middle School and Communities In Schools came together on Tuesday to distribute food for Backpack Pals.
The food drive started on Dec. 1 and ran until Jan. 10. The food pickup was delayed due to the inclement weather that Richmond County faced in the past few weeks.
Jim Butler, the school’s principal, approached Fallon Brewington, executive director of Communities In Schools, to get together some type of community service activity for the students to be involved in.
“He was looking for something very specific,” Brewington said. “He wanted something that the students could actually see benefiting the community.”
That was when the idea for a food drive for Backpack Pals came into play. Brewington suggested it because it is a program that benefits the students in Richmond County, including some of the students at Hamlet Middle School.
The Backpack Pals is a nationally recognized program designed to meet the needs of hungry children who have little to eat over the weekend. The backpacks, filled with food, are sent home with the students on Friday and then returned on Monday.
Brewington got together with Pastor Steve Crews, volunteer director for Backpack Pals, to get a list of items that the organization could use. Working in conjunction with him and the school, Communities In Schools was able to help organize the event as well as provide storage and transportation for the items.
Communities In Schools’ goal is to lower dropout rates by bringing together all sectors of the community. They work with these organizations to make sure students are graduating on time and that they are prepared for college and the future.
“The seventh grade led the project, but the whole school participated,” Brewington said. “The event was a real success and it helped provide an opportunity to change students’ perceptions on those in need. By realizing what the program is and what it stands for, hopefully they will not look at those who receive these items differently. They are doing something to help, and they see it directly impacting the students at the school.
Anyone interested in knowing more or donating to Backpack Pals can visit www.backpackpalsrc.com.