Campus Kitchen at Washington and Lee (CKWL) has received more local support for its creative Weekend Backpack Snack Program. The Food Lion Charitable Foundation has given CKWL a $1,800 grant to support the Backpack Program, which provides backpacks filled with food to students at elementary schools in the area.
Handing over the oversized check on Wednesday, Feb. 15, Shaam Wheeler, store manager at the Lexington Food Lion, said, "I think it's wonderful program, and I'm happy that we can be a part of supporting the local community."
The Backpack program started in 2009 at Natural Bridge Elementary School, providing 360 backpacks in its first year. Since then, the program has expanded to four more elementary schools, including Mountain View Elementary School in January 2012. As a result, the number of backpacks being distributed to area school children has increased to 5,448 in 2011.
The Food Lion grant will underwrite the cost of 1,800 fully-stocked backpacks, since each costs $1 to produce through buying items at discounted rates through the Feeding America Food Bank and using donated items.
Meantime, Stephanie Furlong, a member of AmeriCorps VISTA, joined CKWL in November 2011 as a volunteer for the year. "AmeriCorps VISTA is a national program that's like a domestic Peace Corps," said Jennifer Davidson, Campus Kitchen Coordinator, "at least that's how people typically describe it. We were very lucky to get a VISTA position and to have Stephanie working with us."
CKWL is one of 17 local agencies supported by the United Way of Rockbridge.