Food Backpack Program expanding

Published 3:57 pm Sunday, February 14, 2016

Churches participating in the Food Backpack Program are being asked whether they will buy and assemble food packages themselves or purchase pre-assembled bags from Albemarle Food Bank.

Tyrrell County Schools counselors and principals distribute 20 food backpacks each Friday to provide students meals through the weekend. Local churches furnish and package the foodstuffs.

On Feb. 2, Troy Holland, pastor of Open Door Fellowship in Columbia, showed his colleagues at the Tyrrell Ministerial Association meeting a sack packaged by Albemarle Food Bank containing two breakfasts (poptarts), two snacks and two meals (soups) for $4.75 a sack, reported Tim Hayes, Association president.

A minimum of 80 sacks must be ordered at one time to fit the food bank’s monthly Columbia delivery schedule. Storage space must be provided locally.

“We are also aware that many churches are deciding to put food bags together themselves,” Hayes noted in an email to local pastors.

He asked each if his/her congregation is going to participate in the hunger program? If so, will the church donate money to the Association’s food fund or put bags together themselves, using a menu of approved meals to ensure “every bag has things that every child should be able to eat”?

Some pastors said their churches prefer to purchase and assemble the backpacks, giving members an opportunity for hands-on participation. This activity would be especially meaningful in involving children and teaching them “a giving spirit,” it was noted.

The Assembly of Praise provided 20 backpacks for distribution at Columbia Middle School on Feb. 5.

The Wesley Kids, a youth group at Wesley Memorial United Methodist Church, is scheduled to assemble and deliver 20 backpacks onĀ Feb. 12.

Earlier deliveries were made by Columbia Christian Church, Open Door Fellowship and Frying Pan Free Will Baptist Church.

Other churches participating in the Food Backpack Progam are Columbia Missionary Baptist and Sound Side Missionary Baptist.

Dr. Will Hoffman, school superintendent, estimates a high percentage of Tyrrell schoolchildren experience hunger to some degree every weekend.

The ministerial association also recently established a Children’s Fund that school counselors and principals use to aid needy school students through purchase of coats, shoes, and other items.

Donations to the food and clothing programs may be made to the Tyrrell County Ministerial Association in care of Rev. Royce Reynolds, PO Box 22, Columbia 27925.