It’s NOT okay to have hungry kids!

by Joyce Mills

It’s NOT okay to have hungry kids!  As the Backpack Ministry was being developed, thought about, prayed about, talked about, I just couldn’t think of anything much worse than a child being hungry.  It’s still unacceptable. It shames us.  There’s plenty of money in Raleigh County, and plenty of poverty at the same time, and precious little “trickle down” from one to the other.

Poverty and hunger inflict enormous stresses on families.  When kids go hungry, the family, the neighborhood, the whole community suffers.  And just to be clear about one major point that some cynics might raise, the parent(s) almost always go hungry before their kids do.  They sacrifice to feed their kids.

When food-deprived kids show up at school Monday mornings, it shows .  They’re tired, lethargic, cranky. Their stomachs rumble.  Fortunately, they get a week’s worth of good food at school…..and then comes the weekend.

So for the costs of two dinners for two at a fine restaurant, you can feed a kid for months.  Or you can adopt a child and make sure he/she has weekend food. That would cost you around $30.00 a month or about $300 for a school year. As many of you know, we count our blessings for any amount that is given to this Ministry. ANY DONATION IS APPRECIATED……MONEY OR SPECIFIED FOOD!

For the month of OCTOBER, we would like you to donate individual Fruit Cups. Just place on the back counter in the kitchen and as you leave  think about the fact that you are doing your part to help fix this problem.

YOU ARE APPRECIATED!

Yes! Backpack Ministry

by Joyce Mills

YES!   It is a great feeling to know that  children will be taking backpacks home on Friday.  The backpacks are filled with very nutritious food that has been purchased especially for them.

As you  read this, maybe you brought a jar of Peanut Butter or you might have provided some money for the shoppers to buy it.  At any rate,  children will benefit from someone at First Baptist caring.  Just so you know, these children are in grades PreK – 5th  grade at Beckley Elementary.

Hunger is one of the many faces of poverty.  It keeps children from learning, increases the reason for children being absent from  school, causes anxieties and low self – esteem, and even keeps the child from paying attention in class.

Thanks to you who have joined the fight to feed hungry kids!

We provide enough food for the weekend.  There is a special menu for each weekend that provides 6 meals and 2 snacks.  Those backpacks are heavy!  However, no child has been heard saying, “That backpack is too heavy, I can’t carry it.”  That backpack will get them through the weekend!  The food must be kid-friendly, shelf stable, easy to prepare, and nutritionally sound, so it is important for us to choose the foods wisely that will make up the backpacks each week.

Our shoppers and menu maker always try to put something special in the backpacks  for  days like Labor Day or any holiday.

We are in great need of a few workers.  Could you possibly help on Wednesday at 5:00 pm?   It doesn’t take long to pack the backpacks –but it has to be done each week.  There are 5 teams of packers, one for each week of the month, so only asking for one week out of the month.  Call me(304.252.0534).

We appreciate any amount of money you give.  We also appreciate you bringing in the named food for the month.  For the month of September we are asking you to bring cans of green beans or peas.   Just put  on the back counter in the kitchen.  Thank you for your help!

Summer Backpack Ministry

by Joyce Mills

The Backpack Program at First Baptist is definitely child focused.  We value each child who receives a backpack full of food each week.  All children are precious in God’s sight. His heart is endeared towards them and His ear inclines to their every need.  Time and again, the Bible says that God is a defender and protector of the poor, the oppressed, abused, impoverished and the fatherless.  And so we place value on children because God does.

Our Backpack Ministry is focused on the individual child.  Because of your generous  giving we were not only able to fill that last backpack for the summer with some extra food but also with two brand new books for each child.  It may be the only books that some of the students have.  Also, the Pastor took time to write a special note and an invitation to VBS was put in each backpack.   When you give any amount of money or bring cans of food you become an advocate for children in poverty.  It is a wonderful thing to know that we are helping children to develop better minds, bodies and hopefully spirits because we help feed their physical hunger.

Jesus said,”Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the

Kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.” –Matthew 19:14, NIV

For the months of July and August, you are asked to continue your monetary gifts, as well as, Peanut Butter (16 oz. plastic jars) and any good strong tote bags that you might have.  The tote bags will help when a child forgets his/her backpack for a week and something durable is needed for the food.  Just put items on the back counter in the kitchen.  Please know that we appreciate your help!

Backpack Ministry June Update

by Joyce Mills

The Backpack Ministry has had an awesome school year.  We’re  going to continue until  June 19 this school year.  We have discreetly provided nutritious, child friendly, easy to prepare food to on average  14 chronically hungry children.   The food has been distributed in ordinary backpacks students take home over the weekends and at out of school times.

For students in need, the program:

  • Provides nutrition
  • Eases anxieties
  • Reduces absenteeism
  • Improves attention span
  • Raises academic performance
  • Increases self esteem

It also teaches good eating habits, provides good community role models, demonstrates community pride and serves as an effective outreach program for the church.  Those who have helped to keep this program moving and effective this school year are;

Helen Greene, Mary Gregory, Maria Veid, Charlotte Hutchens, Pam Bishop, Mike and Patty Atterson, Jeff Oakland, Ken Dilley, Connie Neal, Janice Wood, Nancy Moran, Todd Wright, Brooke Wright, John and Debbie Quinn, Sarah Adkins, David and Linda Allport, Valeria Sellards, Caroline Sellards, Linda Ramsey, Mark Holliday, Caroline Holiday, Julianne Holiday, Mary Stover, Crystal Meadows, Cindy Start, Clark and Joyce Mills, and Rev. Doc Adkins.

Of course, our thanks to Beckley Elementary School Principal, Mrs. Meghan Houck, Guidance Counselor, Mrs. Kristie Norris and the classroom teachers  who made certain that everything was taken care of at school.  Our workers always received a warm welcome and help when taking the backpacks to the school.

Many hands,    many hearts,       many souls,      much compassion!    These are the things that made the Backpack Program work so well.  Add to these things the gifts of food and money given by many friends  and church members  and that has made for a very successful school year.

Thanks to each of you for  what you have done for this Ministry! It has been said that generosity  is a sign of a great soul.  Each of you must surely be one because you gave so generously of your time and money.  Thank you so much and remember we will start another year in August.

The need this month is cans of pasta with meat.  Please put on the back counter in the kitchen.

Billboards

by Joyce Mills

Interesting!  As we were traveling just before Easter a large billboard was right along the highway.  Big, Big letters said the same thing that you have heard over and over that 1 out of 5 children in this great country is hungry.  In smaller letters that same billboard ‘s message was asking for help to feed the hungry.  Isn’t it sad that wherever we go we can read the same message?    The need is great and is the reason you are so very much appreciated when you help with this ministry.

To those who pick up the backpacks and deliver them back to the school, and those who are so faithful in packing them each week – YOU are such a blessing!    These are not difficult jobs –it just takes a little time.  Think how important any one of these three jobs is.  We couldn’t have this Ministry if someone was not willing to do the job.

If you haven’t helped with this Ministry, give thought for a moment as to how you might help.  Of course, there is always a need for any amount of money,  the three jobs mentioned above, you could adopt and sponsor a child for $30. a month, you could meet the truck that delivers food from the food bank each month and bring it to the church,

Only you can determine what you can do.  The need is obvious and we always welcome and feel grateful for any additional help.

It has been announced that school will continue until June 22 in Raleigh County.  The good thing about the extra time is our students will continue to receive the extra food for weekends.  We don’t have to worry about them having no food with this plan.

In closing, perhaps you should focus on what you can gain if you helped with any ministry in our church rather than on what you might lose.  AND, finally…….”.whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things…..And the God of peace will be with you.”      Philippians  4:4-9

For the month of May, we need donations of cans of Chili with Beans .  Just leave the cans on the back counter in the kitchen.  Thanks, we appreciate your thoughtfulness!

Yes!

by Joyce Mills

YES!   It is a great feeling to know that 17 children will be taking backpacks home on Friday.  The backpacks are filled with very nutritious food that has been purchased especially for them.

As you read this, maybe you brought a jar of Peanut Butter or you might have provided some money for the shoppers to buy it.  At any rate, 17 children will benefit from someone at First Baptist caring.  Just so you know, these children are in grades PreK – 5th  grade at Beckley Elementary.

Hunger is one of the many faces of poverty.  It keeps children from learning, increases the reason for children being absent from school, causes anxieties and low self – esteem, and even keeps the child from paying attention in class.

Thanks to you who have joined the fight to feed hungry kids!

We provide enough food for the weekend.  There is a special menu for each weekend that provides 6 meals and 2 snacks.  Those backpacks are heavy!  However, no child has been heard saying, “That backpack is too heavy, I can’t carry it.”  That backpack will get them through the weekend!  The food must be kid-friendly, shelf stable, easy to prepare, and nutritionally sound, so it is important for us to choose the foods wisely that will make up the backpacks each week.

Our shoppers and menu maker always try to put something special in the backpacks  for  days like Easter or any holiday.

We appreciate any amount of money you give.  We also appreciate you bringing in the named food for the month.  For the month of April we are asking you to bring in any kind of prepared pudding.  Just put it on the back counter in the kitchen.  Thank you for your help!

Chocolate pudding!                       Banana pudding!                            Vanilla pudding!

A Special Thanks from Beckley Elementary

Beckley Elementary is blessed to have First Baptist Church provide backpacks of food to many of our students.  Each Friday, these students are individually called to the office and their backpack is given to them in a discreet manner so as not to call attention to their situation.  They are always so gracious about accepting their backpack.  Many of them say “thank you” with a genuine smile on their face.  It is a special ministry that you provide to these children.   As a school, we are grateful that you are able and willing to do this.

We love our students and want the best for them.  By providing the backpacks with food, you are helping to provide them with something many people take for granted:  food.  Thank you again for your continued support of our students!

Meghan Houck, Principal

Beckley Elementary

 

We will be collecting 18 oz. jars of peanut butter (plastic of course) for the month of March.  Donations can be left on the back counter in the kitchen.

Backpack Ministry – February Update

by Joyce Mills

Around Raleigh County you’ll find many teachers who can tell you about a student who came to school on Monday not reluctant to start the school week, but eager to get  back to school after going through Friday evening, all day Saturday and Sunday without a square meal – or knowledge of a source for their next meal.

Those children are the reason we started the Backpack Program.  Other churches around the county picked up on the idea and now many children are having a much better weekend.

The Backpack Program is one that ensures that children in need have balanced, nutritious food they need to learn and grow.  The concept is simple, children at risk of weekend hunger receive a backpack full of food that is child friendly, nutritious, nonperishable, and easy to prepare/eat.  Each backpack offers enough food that children can easily assemble into six healthy meals with two snacks over the weekend when schools are unable to provide breakfasts and lunches.

I challenge you to think about a hungry child and how that must feel.   Then, I challenge you to skip just one fast food meal and give $5.00 to help feed that hungry child.  Become involved and help change the future for these children by helping them to thrive and know there’s a better way to live.

Thank you for the 150+ individual containers of applesauce you brought in January.  Can we beat that number in February by bringing 16-18oz. jars of Peanut Butter?  Plastic jars, of course!   Please place on the back counter in the kitchen and on your way out CELEBRATE a little because it has been a great year with the Backpack Ministry.

Happy New Year from the Backpack Ministry

by Joyce Mills

It is a New Year and time to set some new goals in our own lives as well as the things that we work with or have a desire to make better.  There are some things that I would call to your attention about the Backpack Ministry.

Thing 1.  A big Thank You to the wonderful shoppers who helped make  Christmas special for 16 children at Beckley Elementary. You did a fantastic job!  Home Missions done right in our back door.  What could be better?     Thank You!

Thing 2.  Thank you for the 122 cans of Vienna Sausage that you purchased and placed on the back counter in the Church kitchen.

Thing 3.  These individuals serve the Backpack Ministry week after week.  Thank them when YOU see them.  They are faithful, loyal and feel blessed each week as they do their assigned jobs to keep this Ministry running smoothly. Thank you Helen Greene, Mary Gregory, Maria Veid, Charlotte Hutchens, Pam Bishop, Mike and Patty Atterson, Jeff Oakland, Ken Dilley, Connie Neal, Janice Wood, Nancy Moran, Todd Wright,  Brooke Wright, John Quinn,   Debbie Quinn, Sarah Adkins, Linda Allport, Valerie Sellards, Caroline Sellards, Linda Ramsey, Mark Holiday, Suzanne Brown, Clark Mills,  Tim Greene, Johnny Greene, and  Rev. Doc Adkins. YOU are APPRECIATED!

Thing 4.  We are in need of a few more people to help pack backpacks. Each week 22 students receive food through the Backpack Ministry. There are 5 teams with some having only 3 people packing. If you have some time on Wednesday at 5:00pm, you could help one week out of the month.  We also need more help to take the backpacks to the school anytime Thursday or Friday morning. Taking the backpacks to school is done on a monthly rotation. Call me (Joyce) at 304.252.0534, if you can help.

Thing 5.  For the month of January, please bring individual serving packs of APPLESAUCE and put it in the Church kitchen on the back counter. Thanks!

 

HO! HO! HO! Merry Christmas to Our Friends at First Baptist Church!

by Joyce Mills

If 22 individuals were not shy and felt confident enough, I know this would be the greeting that you would receive from those who receive the backpacks each week.

When Jesus first came into our world, those who heard of His arrival had the privilege of directing others to Him.  And even though He’s not arriving again as a Holy Baby, people today still need help in getting to Him.  AND, that’s where we get to play a part – we have the same privilege today, the gift of directing others to Jesus.  Through our giving of money for this Ministry, we make it possible for others to actually fill the backpacks with good nutritious food for those children who are at risk of being hungry.  This is the church’s way of helping those who are less fortunate to understand that this is how it all began at Christmas so long ago when Jesus was born and that the giving will never end because He is our Savior who will never abandon us.  We are directing the less fortunate by being an example and a road map in giving them a backpack each week to help fill a need that each one has at this time.

It’s a beautiful gift God has given us!  Let’s not miss an opportunity to be wise and generous with our directions.  The verse in Matthew 25 that says  “For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat…………”  lets us know that there is no excuse to neglect those who have deep needs..Thank you for continuing to give your money or your time to shop and bring the food for the children in need.  Also, for all of you who are involved with the Backpack Ministry, just remember that Jesus demands our personal involvement in caring for other’s needs.  Thank you for giving so generously of your time.

The special food donation needed this month is cans of Vienna Sausage. Just place the cans on  the back counter in the kitchen.  Thank YOU!

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year