Second Harvest's backpack program needs sponsors

Second Harvest's backpack program needs sponsors

Posted:
Donations to Second Harvest Food Bank's "Food for Kids" backpack program are down this year. Donations to Second Harvest Food Bank's "Food for Kids" backpack program are down this year.
"We can't feed any more children right now," said Elaine Streno, executive director of Second Harvest Food bank. "We have to feed the neediest children at each school and if there are more than the 50 needy children we can't help them." "We can't feed any more children right now," said Elaine Streno, executive director of Second Harvest Food bank. "We have to feed the neediest children at each school and if there are more than the 50 needy children we can't help them."
"You can tell [the program] makes a difference," said Townsend Elementary School principal Steve Stout. "I think you can tell on Monday when they come in." "You can tell [the program] makes a difference," said Townsend Elementary School principal Steve Stout. "I think you can tell on Monday when they come in."

By JOSH AULT
6 News Reporter

TOWNSEND (WATE) - A popular program to feed hungry kids in East Tennessee is hitting some bumps in the road.

Second Harvest Food Bank's "Food for Kids" backpack program was started six years ago in one school in Scott County.

The program is currently in 240 schools in the 18 county area Second Harvest covers.    

"What we are doing is providing food to children in backpacks that go home over the weekend that don't get food they need to sustain until Monday morning when they go back to school," explained Second Harvest Food Bank executive director Elaine Streno.

Streno says last year alone they fed 11,300 children. This school year 1,300 fewer children are going to be getting this food because donations are down.

"We can't feed any more children right now," said Streno. "We are stuck. We have to feed the neediest children at each school and if there are more than the 50 needy children we can't help them until the community helps us."    

The community can help by sponsoring a school. It costs $3,000 per school to feed every child in need for the year.

Streno says out of the 240 schools that use the program only 100 currently have sponsors.

One of the schools that needs a sponsor is Townsend Elementary School in Blount County.

"You can tell [the program] makes a difference," said Townsend Elementary School principal Steve Stout. "I think you can tell on Monday when they come in."

Townsend Elementary officials say right now they serve more than 40 students, and if a sponsor came forward they could serve even more. 

"That's got to come with funding and with donations, so please help us out," said Stout. "Please help all the school out if you can."     

The "Food for Kids" backpack program costs 1.2 million dollars each year to run, but this year the program is short $200,000.   

Even if you cannot sponsor an entire school, monetary donations are always welcomed. Second Harvest Food Bank has a complete list of schools that participate in the program and the ones that are sponsored on their website.

You can also call (865) 521-0000 for more information.

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