Feeding Area Youth with the Backpack Program - NBC29 WVIR Charlottesville, VA News, Sports and Weather

Feeding Area Youth with the Backpack Program

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Across Central Virginia many children go home for the weekend and the holidays without much to eat. When they return to school it can be hard to concentrate with an empty stomach. That's where a program through the Blue Ridge Area Food Bank comes into play. It provides bags of snacks for children in need.

The Backpack Program provides food to at-risk elementary school children who otherwise might not get a nutritious meal when school is out of session.

Each week volunteers stuff bags with things like fruit cups, granola bars, and ravioli. They try to make the bags as healthy as possible. Then each Friday, or on the day before a holiday, the food is discreetly distributed to the students.

"We've been told that the teachers think that they're lethargic when there's not enough food, and they're sleepy and they just don't stay on task as well," said Margaret Gentry, a Backpack Program coordinator.

"So with the food they're not hungry when they come in on Monday morning, and so they feel like it's a real boost for them," Gentry said.

Thanks to more than $600 from area businesses, the Blue Ridge Area Food Bank is able to expand the program this school year.

The Backpack Program now serves Greer, Yancey and Fluvanna elementary schools. The food goes to 470 children each week throughout the school year.

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