JACKSON COUNTY, Ala. – The start of school is right around the corner and those in charge of backpack meal programs for Jackson County students are in their final fundraising efforts.
The Nourish One Child program, which benefits Scottsboro City Schools and the Food for Thought Coalition, is helping Jackson County Schools district students will feed about 900 children across the county this year.
“We hear stories of children who look for these bags because they don’t know where their food’s coming from a lot of times on weekends. They don’t know whose house they’re going to be at and some people say, ‘Well, parents ought to be providing.’ 92% of children on free or reduced lunch, at least one parent is working full-time, but there’s just not enough money to cover the expenses, so it’s just a little something we can do to help the children,” explained Carlton.
At around $6 per bag for 36 weeks, that adds up to more than $190,000.
The groups are accepting monetary donations and single-serve non-perishable food item donations.
“We know that at least one in every four children doesn’t have enough food. Each school varies as far as their number of children on free and reduced lunch,” said Nourish One Child coordinator Mary Carlton. We know that number is going to go up because of unemployment and parents not being able to work, even where their job was before because of virtual learning and they maybe are needing to stay home with their children. So, we’re really trying to plan the best we can, but until we get out feet on the ground and get started, we won’t know our numbers.”
Carlton is also a member of the Food for Thought Coalition.
Anyone can donate to the organizations directly and specify which program they would like the money to go towards.
Donations can also be made at the registers at Foodlands across Jackson County through August 2, 2020.
All volunteers have been and will continue to wear masks and gloves and sanitize the food bags and other items appropriately.
Carlton told HWNT News 19 that none of the volunteers have tested positive for COVID-19.
They will be using disinfected banana boxes to bring the food bags into schools since the suitcases they typically would use are more difficult to sanitize.
The Nourish One Child Program is currently working to become a 501c3 in order to have access to more grant money.