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‘Go Wild, Feed a Child’ campaign kicks off: Local foundation has the backs of students who face food insecurity

TENNERTON – The Foundation for Better Schools in Upshur County’s Backpack Committee is back at it, asking for assistance in filling backpacks with food.

This is the second year for nonprofit foundation’s ‘Go Wild…Feed A Child’ campaign, which runs through the end of March with the goal of raising money to fill backpacks to send food items home over the weekend for Upshur County Students who face food insecurity.

Committee member Kenna Leonard said the goal for 2022 is $10,000, and each month 1,000 backpacks are distributed to students to take home over the weekend.

“We are looking for monetary donations this year,” Leonard said. “Last year, due to COVID-19, we could not continue to pack backpacks with food and distribute them at the schools. So, Multitude Foods was established, and we purchased backpacks from them. They deliver them to our warehouse in bulk and they are distributed to the schools, based on how many they need each month.”

Leonard said the Backpack Committee works directly with Upshur County Schools and wellness and nutrition director Eddie Vincent.

“The schools let Mr. Vincent know how many backpacks they need, and he lets Multitude Foods know how many backpacks they need and then the Foundation for Better Schools in Upshur County, Inc. pays the bill,” Leonard said. “We continued working with Multitude Foods at the beginning of this year because we could not guarantee that we could get the food to pack the backpacks at one time.”

Another option offered to the schools is that they can pack their own backpacks for students facing food insecurity and then be reimbursed for their food.

Leonard said the Backpack Committee members, including herself, are Kelley Tierney and Vanessa Perkins. She said everyone agrees the food insecurities in Upshur County need to be addressed because students have difficulty learning when their basic needs are not met.

“The Backpack Committee of the Foundation for Better Schools in Upshur County, Inc. got started a few years ago when the Pallottine Foundation gave us a grant,” Leonard said. “It was to get the backpack program up and going. Food insecurities are a big part of Upshur County and the schools. We feel if kids are not fed, or if they are hungry, it impacts their learning and social skills.”

Leonard said during the month of March, they are aiming to raise $10,000.

“Hopefully, we will get some support from the community,” she said. “Last year, everyone was so good and a donation of $25 will provide one student food packs for a month.”

To contribute to the ‘Go Wild…Feed A Child’ campaign, folks may donate to the Foundation for Better Schools in Upshur County, Inc.’s PayPal account listed on their Facebook page or mail a check to the Foundation for Better Schools in Upshur County, Inc., P.O. Box 35, Buckhannon, WV  26201.

“Individuals, community organizations, groups or businesses who wish to make a donation to the campaign can also contact me, Vanessa Perkins or Kelley Tierney to make a contribution,” Leonard said. “We would be happy to pick up donations if they contact us.”

Leonard said the Foundation for Better Schools in Upshur County, Inc. appreciates the help and support of the community.

“The community has been our biggest support and whenever there is a need, it seems that need is always met, one way or another,” Leonard said. “When our goal was $20,000 last year, we raised $24,000. When we needed votes for the State Farm Campaign to reach the $25,000 grant, we had the votes covered.”

“I think the kids in Upshur County are very blessed to have the backing of the community,” she added. “It is often said, ‘It takes a village,’ and I am asking you to become a part of the village. Please consider a tax-deductible gift to the Backpack Program. Thank you for supporting our children. Let’s Go Wild!”

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