With so much in the news about food insecurity and the impact of COVID-19 on schools, have you wondered what is happening for needy children on the Sea Islands?
Backpack Buddies Seabrook Island (BPBSI) has been helping feed hungry children at designated schools in Charleston County since 2014. These children, who are identified by school counselors, typically qualify for free breakfast and lunch during the school day but are food insecure on the weekend and school holidays. The poverty rates at these schools range from 60% to 82%.
When Charleston County suddenly shut down the schools March 2020 due to COVID-19, concern increased for these children who relied on school for food. During the spring, BPBSI continued to provide “backpacks” of food for as many of these families as they could reach with the help of dedicated school representatives and local churches. Fortunately, school opened in September with in-school instruction, virtual instruction, and a hybrid of both, allowing BPBSI to continue their mission. The numbers served are increasing as more children are attending in-school instruction and families are still struggling financially due to COVID-19 related issues.
Currently, BPBSI is providing a weekend “backpack” of food to 180 children at three schools during the school year. A typical weekend bag consists of three proteins, two breakfast items, milk, four to six snacks such as granola bars, two fruit cups, and a fresh apple or orange. Volunteers assist with weekly shopping, packing, and delivering “backpacks” to schools. The Kiawah Women’s Foundation Backpack Buddies runs a very similar program at three other schools, so together over 500 children are reached.
The success of this program is due to the outpouring of support from our community. The average cost per child each school year is $250. Both Backpack Buddies Seabrook Island and Kiawah Women’s Foundation Backpack Buddies are non-profit 501(c)(3) organizations and rely totally on donations, grants, and fundraisers. If you are interested in learning more about BPBSI and volunteer opportunities, contact Pat Greubel at firstname.lastname@example.org.
-Submitted by Pat Greubel, Backpack Buddies Seabrook Island
(Image credit: Backpack Buddies Seabrook Island)