Local business pitches in to make Backpack Buddies a success
Backpack Buddies, a program that sends food home with children on the weekend, is getting a boost from a Tifton business.
Barry Barbee and AutoWranglers have agreed to volunteer to help the program. Mr. Barbee and employees of the company will meet weekly to help pack the backpacks with food.
Food for the backpacks is donated and purchased from South Georgia food banks. A weekend worth of food is then packed into backpacks. The backpacks are distributed at school on Friday.
“This is a vital service to our community,” Mr. Barbee said. “Many times these children will go home of the weekend and never know when or what they will get to eat until school resumes Monday morning. These backpacks have enough food to get them and a sibling not in school through the weekend.”
Mr. Barbee said the Monday return rate on the backpacks is very high because the children know they’ll need it Friday. The children are also smart enough to take steps to hide the backpack and food.
“That’s an unfortunate reality for these children. If they don’t hide the food, adults will steal it. The backpack might even be sold,” he said. “The children have learned how to keep their food hidden.”
The children might not get a meal over the weekend for a variety of reasons. Mr. Barbee said Backpack Buddies does not judge the child’s parents.
“We’re here to feed children. That’s all. The Bible tells us to take care of the children and that’s what we’re doing,” he said. “Whatever problems the parents or guardians may be having is beside the point. This is all about the children.”
He said donations to help the program run through this school year are welcome. Because of the nature of the food and the children to whom it goes, only certain kinds of food are appropriate.
“We can’t send lots of canned food home with the kids. They probably won’t be able to open the can,” Mr. Barbee said. “If if you’d like to donate to the program, you can give cash. We’ll see any money that comes in at our offices goes directly to BackBack Buddies.”
For more information about Backpack Buddies visit http://backpack-buddies.org or call Mr. Barbee at 877-845-7378.