Daily Progress, Jacksonville, TX

Local News

February 10, 2010

Packing up HOPE

JACKSONVILLE —

HOPE’s Backpack Project provides needy kindergarten through fourth grade students meals each Friday to eat over the weekend, but that might all end soon.

HOPE Partners in Health Executive Director Fran Daniel said she is beginning to worry about their financial status for the project and asked Jacksonville citizens to help in the charitable organization’s attempt to save it.

“This is our third year to hold the program after recieving a $27,000 grant,” Daniel said. “We have supplemented the grant with donations in order to ‘stretch out’ the money, but we will be out of money for the Backpack Program by September without more donations from the community.”

Currently, there are 189 children in need who are recieving meals from the program, but more than 25 are on a waiting list due to the scarcity of funds.

“It’s $136 to sponsor a child in the Backpack Project for one school year,” Daniel said. “That provides them two breakfasts and two lunches for the weekends and a backpack to carry the food home in at the end of each week.”

The project is now available at five area elementery schools — East Side, Fred Douglas, Joe Wright, West Side and New Summerfield Elementary — where school couselors select children to be in the program.

“These are the children who return on Mondays and seem extremely hungry in the breakfast line,” Daniel said, “or those who seem very lethargic in class.”

West Side Elementary school counselor Erica Gresham coordinates the program for approximately 40 students at her school.

“At school, we provide the kids with two meals each day: breakfast and luch,” Gresham said. “Over the weekend, some of our kids whose families are stuggling might not get meals two-times a day if they can’t afford them, and this program changes that.”

According to HOPE, food used for the Backpack Project comes from the East Texas Food Bank and is chosen for its nutritional value and sustainability.

“It’s proven that a healthy diet helps children learn better,” Daniel said. “Our surveys done at the end of the school year have shown some extremely positive improvements from this program in a their grades, behavior and ability to concentrate.”

Gresham agreed.

“I have to say that many of our students have improved both behaviorally and emotionally because of the program,” Gresham said. “Just after one weekend you can tell they work better because they are no longer worrying about not having food.”

After seeing the advantages of the Backpack Project first hand, Gresham said she recommends locals donate funds in hopes it will continue one more year.

“The program lets our children know that someone cares about them,” Gresham said. “I feel it’s a great cause for a citizen of Jacksonville to support because it directly helps children here in town. We worry about children being fed overseas, but for the ones in our own town, we should give them what they need over the weekend.”

For more information about the Backpack Project or to donate, call HOPE at 903-586-7781.

1
Text Only
Local News
  • Father Mark 3.tif Godspeed, Father

    The news that Father Mark Kusmirek would leave Jacksonville to accept a new assignment Aug. 1 in Longview spread quickly around town this month.

    July 26, 2014 1 Photo

  • Alto City Council examines gas line issue

    City leaders have started looking into the process of moving a gas line that runs from Alto through Wells along U.S. Hwy. 69 to meet requirements of TxDOT, which is widening the road through the city.

    July 26, 2014

  • Proposed JISD budget to get hearing date

    Jacksonville school board members will meet Monday evening for a combination budget workshop, regular board meeting and a summer board retreat, according to an JISD meeting agenda.

    July 26, 2014

  • County leaders to consider backhoe purchase

    Cherokee County Commissioners' Court will meet in regular session 10 a.m. Monday in the County Courtroom in the County Courthouse to consider approval of a backhoe purchase through a cooperative purchasing exchange for Precinct 2.

    July 26, 2014

  • Sheriff's officials bust Mixon steroid lab

    About 6:30 p.m. Thursday, July 24., investigators and deputies with the Cherokee County Sheriff's Office executed a search warrant at a residence on FM 3052 in the Mixon Community near Bullard.

    July 25, 2014

  • UPDATE: County co-op says many customers may not have power until Friday

    July 24, 2014

  • Old Jville Bearden Store.tif Longtime furniture store changes hands

    For the better part of a century, Bearden Furniture Co., Inc., has been the go-to place for local residents wanting to beautify their home.
    Furniture and accessories, carpeting, window treatments – even electronics at one point – were offered at the Commerce Street store, but on July 1, the family who started Bearden's sold the company to Louisiana-based Ivan Smith Furniture company.

    July 24, 2014 1 Photo

  • Athens woman confesses to killing daughter

    A 25-year-old mother is in the Henderson County Jail after telling authorities that she had killed her four-year-old daughter, Monday
    morning.

    July 24, 2014

  • Bullard: District names Jan Hill as deputy superintendent

    Bullard Independent School District is proud to announce Jan Hill as Deputy Superinten-dent. Hill will assume the new role effective immediately.

    July 24, 2014

  • ‘Christmas in July’ drive benefits area foster children

    Sure, December is still more than five months away, but Cherokee County residents are getting the chance to start spreading some holiday cheer a little early this year during the annual Christmas in July donation drive, benefitting the county's Rainbow Room.

    July 24, 2014