BROOKLAND, AR (KAIT) - A Brookland High School class and the Jonesboro Police Department are working together after backpack program funding cuts.
The Leadership and Service Learning class helps with community projects. This year the class is in charge of the backpack program.
"Every Wednesday we pack food into bags and give them to the kids, 4th through 12th grade, who need the food," student Kaylyn Tucker said.
The students have held food drives throughout the year to stock the school's pantry. The food in the pantry is then used to fill backpacks for kids who may not get meals during the weekend.
The students said they like the chance to step up as leaders.
"This class helps me get involved. I really like it because it's leadership we learn a lot about character development and we get to help out our community at the same time," Aisha Mahmoud said.
Many of the students also enjoy helping their fellow classmates.
"It lets me know that I am helping kids in need and it makes me want to help more kids that don't have much," Ryder Nolan said.
The Jonesboro Police Department has also stepped up to help these students get more donations.
JPD came to the school offering their "Back the Blue" t-shirts for sale.
All the proceeds from the shirts will go back into the backpack program.
"It will raise money for the food pantry so we can buy more food for our school," Tanner Crafton explained.
The class teacher Marinda Archer said the class not only helps keep the backpack program going, but also teaches high school students about the importance of giving back.
"It gets the kids out of their shell and out of their comfort zone to let them see what needs there are within our own community," Archer said. "They can get involved and in the process build leadership skills and character development."
The students already see the difference they can make and the type of person they can be.
"It helps us be more informed about our school and what is going on around us and it helps us be a better person," Mekenzie Wallace said.
Archer said this is not a typical class but that is what makes it so special.
"I love to see a light bulb go off in their brain and them say 'Oh, there is an issue here and I can make a difference'," Archer said.
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