Friday is a day I usually look forward to, because it means the weekend has begun. But for others it can mean a time of hunger, especially for children whose only source of square meals comes from school.The child poverty rate is 21 percent in North Carolina, but fortunately some people are trying desperately to lower that number.At Crossroads Church (United Methodist), the missions leadership team has recently started a “Backpack Buddy” program, in which select students are each sent home with a bag of food to get them and their family through the weekend.“I started the Backpack Buddy program in September 2013 with the help of Nancy Friend, the missions outreach director at Crossroads Church,” said church member Stacy Woodward. “I also have another assistant, Susan Black in Children's Ministry. Together we work directly with Elizabeth Rougeau, the guidance counselor at Carl A. Furr Elementary.”Woodward had worked as a critical-care nurse for 16 years until December. Then she took a nursing position at Charlotte Radiology Vein and Vascular Center so she could spend more time with both her family and this program. “This career change allowed me to pursue something I feel is not only my passion, but also my purpose: feeding hungry children and families,” she said. “Crossroads Church has made it possible for me to pursue this program.”Woodward collects her donations from church members, family, friends and co-workers and stocks up the church food pantry. Food Lion at Poplar Tent Crossing recently donated $500 to help launch the program, but more donations are desperately needed. Woodward packs the bags on Tuesdays and Wednesdays and drops them off at the school on Thursdays. The children take them home on Fridays and bring them back on Mondays to begin the process again.The families were selected based on the severity of their need and were chosen through anonymous applications they filled out. “These families depend on these bags every week. Some children have stated it is their only food source over the weekend,” Woodward said. “Ideally, we would love to sponsor more families, but we wanted to ensure we could supply the initial need,” she said. “There are so many more children that need our help, but we desperately need more food donations. We have collected enough for four family backpacks (25 people total).”Woodward said the children and families participating in the program have expressed extreme gratitude and say the program is one consistent means of food they know they will receive weekly.“Monday mornings are hard to face for many people,” Woodward said. “Imagine beginning your school day hungry, or ending your school week wondering how you will eat for the weekend. That's a thought process no child should ever have to entertain.“I'm asking everyone reading this to please consider donating to this program,” she said. “It could change the life of a child.”To find out more, go to mycrossroads.com and click under the Outreach section in Community. Or you can contact Stacy Woodward by phone at 704-791-1418 or by email at email@example.com. Financial donations are accepted, as well as nonperishable food, especially rice, oatmeal, tortillas and canned chicken, tuna and corn. Any donations can be dropped off at the Crossroads Church Missions Corner. Crossroads Church is at 220 George W. Liles Parkway in Concord.
Friday, Feb. 28, 2014
Crossroads Church in Concord starts weekend feeding program
Linda Doherty is a freelance writer. Have a story idea for Linda? Email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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