Funding cut for backpack programs, schools adjusting - KAIT Jonesboro, AR - Region 8 News, weather, sports

Funding cut for backpack programs, schools adjusting

WEINER, AR (KAIT) -

Schools across Region 8 are scrambling to make sure a needed program isn’t lost.

The Arkansas Rice Depot used to help fund the backpack programs for schools across Arkansas, but because of cost, the Depot is redistributing the funds, leaving some schools without.

Weiner Elementary is one of those schools having to find other ways to provide food for its students.

Principal Pam Hogue said they found out last year the funding wouldn't be available.

To help make up for the loss, they are asking for sponsors.

It costs a one time payment of $150 to provide a student with a backpack full of easily prepared food every weekend for a year.

“We absolutely will not stop the backpack program,” Hogue said. “We are fortunate to live in a community that will make sure that happens. Our kids depend on that backpack and the things we provide in it.”

Hogue said many community members have already stepped up and donated, almost covering all the kids who need backpacks.

Other schools such as Brookland lost funding.

Brookland schools said they are already planning food drives to help with the set back.

An official from the Arkansas Rice Depot told Region 8 News they hate they can no longer provide the funding for all the schools, but they looked at the bottom line and decided they must put the money where it will make the most impact.

They added their goal is to provide healthier foods, as well, which costs a lot more. 

The Arkansas Rice Depot said they feel the area needing the most attention is in the delta.

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