Let’s support Backpack Buddies

Unite to Fight fundraiser is Friday at Fort Frenzy

In our affluent society, it is unacceptable for any children to be hungry or lack regular access to nutritious food. Making sure that local young folks do not experience hunger is the mission of Backpack Buddies.

The Backpack Buddies initiative supplements school breakfast and lunch programs. It supplies elementary-school-age children from low-income homes with nutrient-rich foods for consumption on weekends. It thus helps guarantee that these youngsters will not go hungry. It also is committed to ensuring that their dietary options won’t be limited to unhealthy choices.

Backpack Buddies began distributing food in 2010. The project has grown rapidly since then in response to identified community needs.

According to data collected in March, the Fort Dodge Community School District had 3,977 students enrolled and about 58 percent of those children were eligible for free or reduced cost meals. According to Terry Moehnke, program director for Backpack Buddies, elementary and middle school children show a higher rate of dependency on assistance for their school lunches. About 63 percent are eligible for the free or reduced fee structure, he said.

An important Unite to Fight fundraiser to support this key local initiative will take place Friday at Fort Frenzy, 3232 First Ave. S. It costs $20 to attend. Festivities begin at 5:30 p.m. Dinner and a silent auction are part of the evening’s proceedings as is a keynote address by V.J. Smith of Brookings, South Dakota.. All proceeds will be used to purchase food for Backpack Buddies. Unite to Fight is a combined effort between Noon Sertoma and NEW Cooperative Foundation.

Over the years Backpack Buddies has widespread support. Noon Sertoma has played a crucial sponsoring role. In addition to backing from the NEW Cooperative Foundation, help has come from the Walmart Foundation, Valero Energy Foundation, Study Club, Junior Women’s Club, First Covenant Church, First Presbyterian Church, the Fort Dodge Community Foundation, 100+ Women Who Care and individual donors.

The Messenger has long admired and championed Backpack Buddies. It continues to deserve the strongest possible community backing. We urge readers to show their enthusiasm for this project by taking part in the Unite to Fight fundraiser.