- Associated Press - Wednesday, April 27, 2016

RICHMOND, Ind. (AP) - Second-grade teacher Jana Angelucci sees the effects of hunger on her students.

And she sees the benefits of a local program run by volunteers that tries to curb those hunger pangs one weekend a month.

“I have kids in my class that are so anxious about these Backpack Blessings on Friday they get nervous if the ladies show up later than usual,” said Angelucci, a teacher at Starr Elementary School.

Christian Charities, a non-profit organization, buys Uncrustables sandwiches, fruit, cracker packets and granola bars in bulk and distributes them on the last Friday most months during the school year.

Angelucci said the monthly Backpack Blessing bags, along with Gleaners Food Bank backpacks (distributed weekly to a few of the most needy students) help her sleep at night.

“I have students at Starr that have told me they didn’t eat the night before or that there wasn’t any food in the house,” Angelucci said. “I think the schools do a good job getting food to the kids during the week, but what about the weekend?”

“It is always hard to send them home wondering if they would eat and then seeing some of them come in on Monday hungry and unfocused,” she said. These programs reassure them and teachers that they will have food over the weekend.”

All students in five Wayne County elementary schools with at least 85 percent of children on free or reduced lunches gets a bag. Each sack costs $1.92 for the two Uncrustables, a piece of fruit, a granola bar and two packages of crackers.

Angelucci has shared the Palladium-Item’s recent feature story about Backpack Blessing via Facebook and encouraged her friends to donate. She said she doubts many people have heard of the program outside of the schools and she’s glad it is receiving attention in April through the P-I’s 12 Months of Giving.

Christian Charities needs financial gifts to buy food for Backpack Blessing. The project’s annual budget is about $21,000.

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Source: (Richmond) Palladium-Item, https://pinews.co/1SIDhnh

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Information from: Palladium-Item, https://www.pal-item.com


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