Feeding Dothan Children One Backpack at a Time

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Many students with free or reduced lunches only get healthy meals when school is in session.
Now one new program is aimed at keeping kids fed during the weekend one backpack at a time.

No celebration would be complete without cheers, and this group has plenty to celebrate.
They are helping to jump start a program proposed by this 12 year old girl to help fill backpacks with food.

"I wanted to help out our community, and the people who go hungry on the weekends and holidays, and who go home and need food," says 12 year old Sommers Schmidtke

So she and her mom called up the food bank with her idea and they ran with it...

So here's how the backpack program works, volunteers will fill up zip lock bags, full of breakfast and lunch for students, they place it in a back pack, and go home for the weekend.

Wednesday Wal-Mart management and associates presented a $50,000 check from the Wal-mart golden sparks award campaign, a friendly statewide competition where associates used volunteer efforts to capture the prize.

"The associates of the store came together, in a strong way, they did every thing from going down to the food bank, to sorting food, inside the facility outside the facility,” says Northside Wal-Mart store manager Stephanie Hines.

Volunteer hours that turned into dollars and cents for the food bank.

"It means, a tremendous amount, first off part of that money will be going to help underprivileged children, who go home on the weekend hungry," says Executive Director David Hanks.

Not only $50,000 but another $40,000 from Wal-Mart to help purchase a new cargo van for the food donation pickup program at the food bank.

"It will allow us at the food bank to make some capitol improvements, and go out and get food and bring it in to the food bank to serve those folks that need assistance," says Executive Director David Hanks

The first school to participate is Headstart in Dothan, where 100 percent of their students qualify for the backpack program.

"One of the things you have to have other than supplies is good nutrition, so being able to help the children in that area will benefit them being ready to learn, says Headstart Education Manager Denise Vincent.

A $90,000 investment that will help ensure children are fed in Dothan.

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