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Blessings In A Backpack Program Feeds Hungry Students On Weekends (Video)

School Backpacks Food

First Posted: 02/03/11 07:04 PM ET Updated: 05/25/11 07:30 PM ET

Breakfast and lunch meals at school may help needy students get access to food during the week. When the weekend comes, however, many are left to fend for themselves.

Teacher Elaine Heyler saw her students struggling at her South Florida school because of this. She told NBC Miami:

"Parents are working and they're not at home because they need to keep two jobs, [some are] single parents. Some kids have no food."

So she decided to act. Heyler joined the national Blessings in a Backpack program, leading student volunteers in packing backpacks full of food for needy students to take home on the weekend, reports NBC Miami.

Alexandra Kales, an eighth-grade student leader, said she felt like a "better person" by helping out her fellow classmates.

"I think they feel grateful. There's a friend in need, someone's there to help you through the tough times or not."

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Steve Moss, a member of Florida's Bay County School Board, told WJHG that some students are so desperate for weekend food, they save some of their Friday lunch to take home.

"What they were doing is they were hoarding the food almost like animals, eating half of it, sticking the rest in their pants or their book bag so they would have something to eat over the weekend because they simply didn't have those resources at the house."

Schools across the nation are getting involved. NBC San Diego reported students at Doris Miller Elementary School in Tierrasanta received five hundred backpacks loaded with healthy snacks and drinks last week.

Kate Rose, wife of professional golfer Justin Rose, participates in the program through the PGA Tour Wives Association, a not-for-profit organization affiliated with the Professional Golfers' Association. She told NBC San Diego that to reach students minds, you have to take care of their stomachs first:

"You can't expect children to learn if they haven't got food in their tummy. It's fuel for them."

For every $80 in donations, the Blessings In A Backpack's website says it can provide a student with weekend meals for an entire year. For more information, follow the Impact links below:

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Filed by Carly Gillis  |