Daily Progress, Jacksonville, TX

Local News

February 10, 2010

Packing up HOPE


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.

Text Only
Local News
  • Christian Rapper 0419.tif Local rap artist spreads the 411 on Jesus

    "I have seen things in my life that would make Dr. Phil crazy," Jacksonville native, ordained minister and aspiring rap artist Stephen I. Crow Jr. said with a laugh. "That's why I don't label my music specifically as "Christian rap" -- yes, Christians who love rap can listen and hopefully be uplifted, but I truly want and am trying to bring the word and Jesus' message to people who may never have heard it or don't believe it's for them.

    April 19, 2014 1 Photo

  • Tomato Bowl flushed to bottom of priorities

    The historic Tomato Bowl, built in 1940, stands strong on the outside, but according to some people the inside needs a lot of work in order to not be an eyesore.

    April 19, 2014

  • Cherokee County arrest: April 8-14

    The Daily Progress will publish a list of arrests from the Cherokee County Sheriff's Office on a weekly basis.

    April 19, 2014

  • Jacksonville College, high schools team up to offer dual credit program

    Jacksonville College is currently offering qualifying high school juniors and seniors attending Jacksonville and New Summerfield ISDs and The Brookhill School in Bullard the opportunity to get head start on their higher education.

    April 18, 2014

  • JISD board members to consider district strategic plan

    The Jacksonville ISD Board of Trustees will meet at 6:30 p.m. Monday, April 21, to discuss a district strategic plan and consider buying new band uniforms.

    April 18, 2014

  • 2 men arrested after standoff in grocery store

    Two men were arrested early Wednesday morning after a standoff at the B&B Foods in Alto.
    According to Alto Police Chief Jeremy Jackson, a person reported seeing two black males at the store just before 3 a.m. Wednesday.

    April 17, 2014

  • Some area entities closed for holiday

    Many area offices and businesses will be closed Friday in observance of Good Friday and Easter.

    April 17, 2014

  • Dispatcher Enge 0416.tif JPD dispatcher killed in wreck

    A dispatcher for the Jacksonville Police Department was killed Monday on her way to work, according to officials.
    Amber Enge, 35, of Whitehouse was pronounced dead at the scene of a one-vehicle wreck Monday afternoon on CR 2177 in Whitehouse.

    April 16, 2014 1 Photo

  • CR speed limit changes, E-filling fee top agenda

    On Monday, Cherokee County commissioners set April 28 to hold public hearings concerning the changing speed limits on two county roads.

    April 16, 2014

  • Catherine look.tif Religious lines drawn: Protesters met by members of Church of Wells

    Other than a few community members' voices that rose above the crowd, the protest Saturday against the Church of Wells remained peaceful.

    April 15, 2014 3 Photos