Most of us know where our next meal is coming from. That’s not the case for an increasing number of kids who leave school on Friday without assurance there will be adequate food at home to get them through the weekend. Backpack Pals was established to meet this kind of need in the community and has fed 1,000 children since it’s inception in 2007. Today it remains one of our core programs.
During the 2012-13 school year we fed 200 students every weekend with nutritious food that is ready-to-serve or easy to prepare. We relied heavily on volunteers from area churches and community organizations to get the backpacks filled and delivered weekly to each school. We’d like to pay special thanks to the employees of Monarch, a nonprofit organization which supports people with disabilities, mental illness and substance abuse issues, for their ongoing efforts to make this program work. Some 8-10 of their employees arrived every Monday throughout the school year to unpack the food and arrange it in a manner which made it easy for others to smoothly and quickly fill the backpacks.
While we can’t meet the needs of all deserving families in Montgomery County, we are having a positive impact on a significant number. Results demonstrate that when children have their basic needs met, they can be more productive and successful in school. This year, of the 180 kids served, 86% of them increased their GPA, 85% met their attendance goals, and 100% were promoted to the next grade level.
WATCH the “Overcoming Obstacles” video, featuring BackPack Pals of CIS of Lee County. This is a great presentation of the BackPack Pals program and captures the essence of CIS – that we’re in the schools to enhance what schools and teachers can’t do alone and in such a way that remove barriers to student success.
WALMART GIVES BACK:
Total number of participating students: 219
Troy Elementary: 8
Page Street Elementary: 25
Candor Elementary: 54
Star Elementary: 21
Green Ridge Elementary School: 36
East Montgomery HS: 7
West Montgomery HS: 6
East Middle School: 11
West Middle School: 9
Mount Gilead Elementary: 37
Montgomery Learning Academy: 2
Press Release 5/20/15
Communities in Schools of Montgomery County Awarded $25,000 Grant from the Walmart Foundation
Montgomery County, NC ----- Communities In Schools of Montgomery County (CISMC) has been awarded a $25,000 grant by the Walmart Foundation for the Backpack Pal Program. The CISMC Backpack Pal program began in 2007 and is currently serving 200 students in all Montgomery County Schools. With this additional grant money from the Walmart Foundation, the program will be able to expand to 300 students served next year as well as allowing for additional nutritional options in the Backpack Pals weekly bags.
Most of us know where our next meal is coming from. That’s not the case for an increasing number of kids who leave school on Friday without assurance there will be adequate food at home to get them through the weekend.
“We don’t want to turn anyone away who is in need of this program” stated Lynn Epps, Executive Director of CISMC. “With almost 80% of our school students on free or reduced lunch, we knew there were additional needs at the schools we needed to meet. No child should have to go hungry and we work with teachers and guidance counselors to identify those students they feel would benefit from this program.”
“Walmart and the Walmart Foundation are delighted to support Communities In Schools of Montgomery County and their Backpack Pal Program,” said Brooke Mueller, Director Public Affairs and Government Relations, Walmart. “Through this grant, children and students in the community will receive nutritious meals and food at home.”
Communities In Schools mission is surround students with a community of support, empowering them to stay in school and achieve in life. CIS takes a holistic approach to increasing graduation rates in Montgomery County Schools by addressing the physical, emotional and academic needs of children and their families through direct case-management and a range of comprehensive services for students. Studies show that children from food-insecure homes are more likely to experience conduct disorders, academic disruptions, and physical health problems. Providing meals through the weekend helps with the fight against child hunger and gives them a head start into the week, ready to learn and be successful. Our relationships with the local food bank, faith communities and civic organizations have been an asset in helping us to surround students with a community of support.
About Communities In Schools of Montgomery County
The mission of Communities In Schools (CIS) is to surround students with a community of support, empowering them to stay in school and achieve in life. During the 2013-14 school year, CIS of Montgomery County has served over 200 students with meals every weekend that are ready-to-serve or easy to prepare.
Last year over 4,200 Montgomery County School students received support through CISMC. An additional 397 students received comprehensive services resulting in 100% of potential dropouts staying in school, 98% of CIS students promoted, 100% of CIS students graduated, and 88% improved behavior. CIS of Montgomery County is helping to build a stronger local community where every child is capable of reaching his or her greatest potential.
About Philanthropy at Walmart
Walmart and the Walmart Foundation are committed to helping people live better through philanthropic efforts that draw on the strengths of Walmart in the arenas of sustainability, economic opportunity, and community. As part of our commitment to creating a more sustainable food system worldwide, Walmart and the Walmart Foundation are leading the fight against hunger in the United States. They recently exceeded a $2 billion goal to fight hunger one year ahead of schedule and have donated more than 1.5 billion pounds of food to those in need across the country. To learn more about Walmart’s giving, visit www.foundation.walmart.com.