ROCK CAVE — On Monday, October 7, Rock Cave Elementary School (RCES) received a donation from the Buckhannon Elks. The donation received was in the amount of $5,000 and is utilized for the school’s backpack program.
Mr. Jim Walton of the Buckhannon Elks said, “The Elks are glad they have the opportunity to work with Rock Cave Elementary School to provide weekend snacks for the students and hope we can continue to do so.”
Principal of RCES Lynnette Ryan said, “Mr. Walton faithfully donates his time each week to pack the backpacks for 53 or more students. This supplemental nutrition helps to feed our students over weekend and breaks. The generosity of the Elks not only helps to feed our students, but also supports their education, as full stomachs keep students focused. We are truly grateful for the partnership with the Elks.”
These backpack programs such as this one are reportedly helping over half a million children nationwide. An article written by Michael Kurtz, Karen Conway and Robert Mohr that is published on the University of New Hampshire website shared that backpack programs are linked to higher test scores for children.
The article “Backpack Food Programs Linked to Higher Test Scores for School Children” shared that the first backpack program began in 1995 at an elementary school is Arkansas. It was also noted that school meals fill an important gap in meeting household food demand during the week but cannot meet needs outside of school hours. To mitigate food insecurity on days when free school meals are unavailable, foodbanks have partnered with schools to create weekend feeding or “Backpack,” programs that provide children with a bag of nonperishable food to nourish them over the weekend.
It is noted through studies that “the impacts on both reading and math scores are strongest for the youngest and the lowest performing students” and the impacts on test scores are similar to those found for other nutritional interventions in prior research.” “Improvements are large enough to substantially reduce the performance gap experienced by economically disadvantaged students.”
Feeding America says “every Backpack Program is unique. Most backpacks include enough food to make a few healthy meals. That way, kids return to school on Monday, ready to learn.”
Backpacks may include:
• Breakfast items like cereal, oatmeal or granola bars
• Easy to prepare meals like mac and cheese, peanut butter and jelly sandwiches or canned soup
• Milk or juice
• Fresh or canned fruit
• Fresh or canned vegetables
Thank you to the Buckhannon Elks and RCES for sharing this story on your partnership to help our county’s youth!