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BackPack program looking for community support

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For the past 10 years, the Marion County Community Education program has participated in Feeding America’s BackPack Program, which is designed to provide needy children who are at-risk of facing hunger with food for the weekend when school meals are not available.
However, in recent years, the program has faced a new obstacle: funding. In the past, a large portion of the program’s funding came from a grant that is no longer available.
In response, Community Education Director Nancy Shockency is looking to the community for help with fundraising needs. Shockency set up a fundraising page through Feeding America’s website with a goal of raising $10,000.
The fundraising page can be found by going to Feedingamericaky.networkforgood.com and selecting “Marion County BackPack Program “ near the bottom of the screen.
“Kids need to be kids, and not have to worry about being hungry,” Shockency said. “Kids aren’t at their best when they have an empty stomach -- they aren’t able to focus and be productive in school. It shouldn’t be this way.”
Currently, 12 other school districts in Kentucky are participating in the same fundraising effort.
When the BackPack program began, Community Education was able to provide 620 backpacks with weekend food for students; last year, the program provided 1,440 bags of food. However, that level of support is in large part dependent on funding.
“That’s where Feeding America comes in, along with our community to help solve the hunger problem,” Shockency said. “Over 20 million kids across the U.S. access free and reduced lunches through the school lunch program. What happens to these kids when they aren’t in school? That’s where we need to step up.”
In addition to donating through the fundraising site, community members can also choose the Adopt-a-BackPacker option by filling out an application and sending payment to Feeding America.