Kentucky School Leader - Fall 2012 - (Page 18)

FEATURE BRECKINRIDGE COUNTY BACKPACK PROGRAM By Kathy Gedling, Instructional Supervisor Breckinridge County Schools I n 2006, ABC News featured a clip about a backpack program that a teacher in Texas was doing on her own. Kim Shrewsberry, Hardinsburg Elementary School Family Resource Center coordinator, and former HES Principal, Gwen Lucas, started researching the idea, because they both felt there were hungry children right here in Breckinridge County. During the first year of the program in Breckinridge County, 34 students were provided weekly food bags at a cost of 24¢ per bag for each week throughout the school year. The Breckinridge County Good Samaritan Center, Breckinridge County Homemakers, Feeding America and the regional food bank in Elizabethtown assisted in getting the program established and operating smoothly. After the initial year at just one school, all Family Resource/Youth Service Center I am proud that Breckinridge County cares so much about its students. coordinators decided to implement the program in their schools. While our school district began with 34 students, we now provide this special service to 149 students. The program itself has not changed as far as how food is acquired and distributed to the children, but the cost has increased tremendously. Students are referred and parents are contacted to get permission to participate. Then, every Friday afternoon, FRYSC staff discreetly place a bag of food in a child’s backpack for them to have food during the weekend. The cost has gone from a “per bag amount” to a “per child each school year.” For the 2011-2012 school year, it cost $80 per child. Next year, the cost is going up to $100 per child each school year. There are more items in each bag now, but the cost has increased dramatically. With rising costs, we look to organizations and individuals throughout the county to help fund, because we know the power of this program. We understand that basic needs must be met prior to learning being a possibility. Our FRYSC coordinators work with the Breckinridge County Good Samaritan Center and Feeding America very closely to coordinate this program. There are numerous agencies, groups and individuals that now sponsor children to help us fund the program. As a former middle school principal, I was eager for our school to have this program, as I have seen hungry students. There is one moment in particular which always tugs at my heart and brings tears to my eyes. On a busy Friday afternoon after students had had their afternoon break, a 13-year-old boy came to me and asked if he would be getting his food for the weekend or not – usually the YSC coordinator did this prior to break time – and I responded that yes, he would. He went to class, and I immediately went to assist the YSC coordinator in getting the deliveries made in the last minutes of the school day. Teenagers, especially boys, typically do not approach their principal on a Friday afternoon unless it is something serious. I am proud that Breckinridge County cares so much about its students. I feel that this effort has spawned other efforts in our community, as this year our Summer Feed Program has a mobile feeding program traveling to various sites to serve lunches throughout the county. Our children are hungry, and our school community wants to feed them – their minds and their bodies. ✎ 18 • Kentucky School Leader Fall 2012

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Kentucky School Leader - Fall 2012

Editor’s Note
2012 Fred Award Winner: Jon Foote
2012 Leadership Awards
Hearts of Grace
President’s View: Caring for the Whole Child
Building a Bridge
2012 Student Video Contest
Lawrence County: Working Together for the Community
Breckinridge County Backpack Program
From the Executive Director’s Desk: How Much Should Schools Do?
Index of Advertisers/

Kentucky School Leader - Fall 2012