TAYLOR COUNTY—Before long, preparations for the holiday season will begin, and while some students look forward to dinners filled with delicious foods, others are left fearing if they will have a meal at all.
To help ensure that stomachs are filled with nutritious food, the Fetterman United Methodist Church/Anna Jarvis Elementary (FUMC/AJE) Backpack Program workers have set their sights on collecting peanut butter and jelly for students to have over breaks.
“The FUMC-AJE Backpack Program provides food for the weekend and over school breaks to children,” shared volunteer Pam Gallaher. “We are good for Thanksgiving, but we will need donations for the Christmas break.
Knowing that there is a need present in the community to help feed students during times away from school, members of the Fetterman United Methodist Church/Anna Jarvis Elementary (FUMC/AJE) Backpack Program have worked hard to provide food items for the county’s students in need.
“Our goal is to see that our local school children do not go hungry on the weekends or over school breaks,” explained Ruth Miller. “We want to help break the cycle of hunger and know if children have balanced, nutritious food, they will be able to achieve more.”
With the holiday season quickly approaching, the organization has begun accepting donations to help fill the stomachs of the area’s youth.
According to Miller, the FUMC/AJE Backpack program will be collecting peanut butter and jelly, in plastic jars, to send home with children over the holiday breaks.
“We will send a jar of each home with each child that is enrolled in the program, along with various other food items so that they will have nourishing food while they are on long breaks,” she explained.
While the program receives funding for the regular items that they pack, FUMC/AJE organizers are appealing to the people of Taylor County to help with the extra jars of peanut butter and jelly.
“We are asking those who donate to please only donate items in plastic jars,” Miller noted. “Glass jars could potentially be broken and could result in injuries to the children.”
And while funding for their regularly packed food items is available, the organization gladly accepts donations.
Any non-perishable food items are welcome including peanut butter and jelly; canned chicken, tuna, sausages, or meats; canned soups and stews; chicken and dumplings; mild bean chilis; canned pasta; macaroni and cheese; ramen noodles and side bags or boxes of rice, as well as individual servings of mashed potatoes and noodles.
They will also accept individual servings of protein bars, cereal bars, fruit bars, instant oatmeal, hot chocolate, fruit cups, applesauce, teddy grahams and other snack crackers, cookies, Jello cups, puddings, raisins, chips and more.
“We usually have a great response from the people of Taylor County and appreciate everything they do to help these children,” Miller expressed. “We are asking that those who make donations keep a couple of things in mind.”
Backpack program organizers noted that large cans can be cumbersome for students to have to carry home, donations should consist of smaller cans. In addition, glass jars cannot be accepted, because they pose a safety risk for students should they break.
For those that would like to make donations, they may be dropped off at the Mountain Statesman office, located at 914 West Main Street, during regular business hours, Monday-Thursday from 10:30 a.m. until 4:00 p.m.
Those wishing to make a monetary donation to the program may mail their contributions to Mrs. Carolyn Bolyard, Treasurer, 40 Howard Street, Apartment 201, Grafton, WV 26354.
Those with questions can reach Gallaher by phone at 304-694-1583 or by emailing [email protected]
“We usually have a great response from the people of Taylor County and appreciate everything they do to help these children,” Miller expressed. “Please pray for the children that have to look forward to getting their bag of food every weekend.”