POCAHONTAS, AR (KAIT) - The Rice Depot cut funding from another Region 8 school district's food for backpack program so the community is stepping up.
Pocahontas public schools offer a take home backpack program for kids in need of food. This year the school has seen an increase in students needing the aid along with a need for more donations.
"The Rice Depot said we had other resources and they weren't going to be able to service us this year," Coordinator Shelia Ingram said. "They provided even all of our backpacks so this year we are scrambling to find backpacks plus the food."
This year Ingram has an all-time high 55 elementary students taking home backpacks, compared to the 45 students she had last year. Ingram said this is roughly 12 percent of her students.
The program allows students to take home backpacks full of 2 lunches, 2 dinners, and 2 snacks on Friday. The kids return the backpacks on Monday and they are filled again for the following Friday.
With the lack of funding from the Rice Depot, the school has turned to donations from the community instead.
Ingram said the program received $1,750 from the United Way food drive, $800 from Pocahontas Medical Clinic, and donations from Share Team.
Pocahontas Medical Clinic has also pledged to cut the school a check every two weeks for the program.
Money and donations are essential for the program to keep running.
The cost break down is about $7 per backpack. and with 55 students, Ingram said that amounts to $385 a week for just the elementary students.
Ingram said the program will be in good shape thanks to the donations from the community.
She has reached out to be people through social media over the summer and has also formed a committee to help bring in donations.
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