We are kicking off a special month here for A Taste With Rach Gives Back.
Each week Rachael will be highlighting organizations that work to feed people in our community who are in need.
This week we get an inside look at the weekend backpack program from the House of the Carpenter on Wheeling Island.
For the last several years, the program has been working to feed students at Madison Elementary. Each week, three meals are packed up at the House of the Carpenter, then taken over to students at Madison to ensure they will have food to eat for the weekend.
It may seem like a simple concept, but according to Mike Linger, Executive Director at the House of the Carpenter, the program has had a big impact on the students.
“The faculty and staff tell us every Friday when bags are distributed, the attendance at school is almost 100%. The kids look forward to the bags, they appreciate the bags,” said Linger.
In fact, Linger says the food supplied to students over the month, also helps them to come back on Mondays ready to learn.
The bags are given to every single student at Madison Elementary School each week, just over 260 students.
They are packed on Wednesdays by volunteers, loaded into totes, and then distributed on Friday.
The bags include breakfast, lunch, dinner and snack items along with fresh fruit from Jebbia’s Market.
“What you see in these bags when you look at breakfast, it could be instant oatmeal, cereal, pop-tarts, for lunch it’s small cans of chili, mac and cheese, things they can easily make. For dinners, it’s can of pasta, can of soup. Things that honestly they can eat but also share with a sibling. Then for snacks.. Pudding cups, snack bars something of that nature,” said Linger.
Linger also said they were most surprised to find out that students really look forward to the fresh fruit each week. He says they are eager to receive to receive them each week.
Stores like Jebbia’s, Kroger, Sam’s Club and Walmart work with the House of the Carpenter to offer discounted prices to help offset the cost of the program. They also receive food donations from The Mountaineer Food Bank.
Programs like this are needed across the Ohio Valley. According to Linger, a study shows that at least one out of every four children in the Ohio Valley are at risk of going hungry at some point during the month.
A more concentrated study that looks at what a family actually needs to survive each month based county by county though, shows that number could be even higher, maybe even one out of every two children going hungry.
If you would like to help the House of the Carpenter continue this program, there are a few different thing you can do.
You can make a monetary donation which will be used to purchase food for the program or donate food items to be used as well.
The House of the Carptener is located at 200 S Front St on Wheeling Island.
If you would like more information on how you can support their efforts to help those in our community, you can call their offices at (304) 233-4640.
For more information on A Taste With Rach Gives Back, CLICK HERE.
Watch throughout the month of February each Thursday on 7News at 5 as we feature a different organization working to feed those in need in our community.