By Heather Clower
The Parsons Advocate
School is well under way in Tucker County and with that brings a lot of new stressors. From quizzes and tests, team try outs and sporting competitions, these are to be expected. But looking forward to Monday because you don’t have enough food for the weekend should never be one of them. This is where the Family Resource Network (FRN) is stepping up to help from September through May.
The backpack weekend feeding program was designed to help kids who are dependent upon school meals as their primary source of nutrition. Each Friday, or Thursday for preschoolers, the FRN takes draw string bags full of a weekends worth of non-perishable foods for kids to take home. Each bag consists of two breakfasts, lunches, and dinners and sometimes a snack. “It takes a pretty good size bag”, stated Sandra Bohon, FRN employee who is very involved in this program. “The idea is to send items the kids can open and prepare themselves if need be”, she added.
This is the third week they have delivered backpacks at the end of the school week. They are currently serving approximately 65 students in Parsons, 35 in the Davis Thomas region, and 20 to 25 at the high school. “Teachers and staff in the school systems can suggest kids and make referrals for them to the FRN to be on the list to receive a bag”, explained Bohon. With the other in home programs the FRN is involved with, they can also see a need while doing visits and make referrals for students’ siblings.
If there are any home school students who are in need, they can also reach out to the FRN to participate, or someone can make a referral for them. There are no requirements or pre requisites required to be accepted into this program. The FRN sends out letters to teachers at the beginning of the school year describing the program and how they can participate. The bags are distributed to the teachers and they disperse them within their classroom. “The kids are excited to get them”, exclaimed Bohon. TCHS students who are interested in participating can pick their bags up at the end of the week at the office. Extra food is always left with the secretaries in case someone would like to take a bag home but may not have been on the list.
All of the food for this program is donated or purchased with grant money. “We have no money in our budget for it”, stated Bohon. This is where our community can assist. “It takes $75 a semester to feed a child, so $150 for the school year”, she explained. Donations of non-perishable items can be delivered to the FRN located in the Board of Education office. Monetary donations are also welcome to be utilized in the purchase of food or the heavy duty draw string bags used to deliver the meals. For more information, you can contact the Family Resource Network at 304-478-3827.