The Jackson County School System gives students seventeen days away from school for the holidays. The break is considered a gift but for struggling families and homeless students, this time can become tough for meeting basic necessities. The program, Backpack for Kids, was started last Thanksgiving. Volunteers work to aid student achievement by feeding children that are homeless or in need of a little extra help.
Last year the program fed twenty children and this Thanksgiving over two-hundred more received food bags. The program is donation based and all money collected goes back to the children through food supplies. The mission is to bridge the nutritional gap for students from Friday afternoon to Monday morning and provide meals through the holiday seasons.
After a seven day Thanksgiving holiday break the food bank is depleted and now donations are greatly needed. According to Supervisor of Federal Programs, Michael Kilts, the need has never been greater in Jackson County, "Many of us are very fortunate to be able to be able to provide for ourselves. but when a 5 year old doesn't know where their next meal is going to happen, that is just something that we've got to fix. It happens in this country and it happens right here in Jackson County and it happens in surrounding counties."
If you would like to make a donation to the food bank you can drop supplies off at the Jackson County School Board building located on Jefferson Street in downtown Marianna. Other drop off locations are Covenant Hospice and Evangel Worship Center.