Feeding the Children

Bulldog Backpack Program Offers Opportunity for Individuals to Participate in Hunger Action Month

The continuing problem of childhood hunger strikes GWU Registrar Lou Ann Scates to the core. “I’ve been passionate about this issue for years,” Scates shared. “It hits me deep and pulls at my soul.” September is “Hunger Action Month,” a national initiative sponsored by Feeding America. She hopes that people will be reminded that hunger in America is a solvable problem.

A few years ago, she and GWU Biology Professor Susan Manahan read an article about the pandemic of child hunger, and both women immediately wanted to do something about it locally. They put their heads together and the result of their brainstorming is what is now known as the Bulldog Backpack project. The initiative is now an official 501(c)3 non-profit organization that provides non-perishable food items to hungry Springmore Elementary School (Boiling Springs, N.C.) students and their families on a regular basis.

By collaborating with school social worker Mary Crotts, Scates and Manahan initially identified approximately 20 children whose family situations were desperate. While the families can manage one modest meal each day, and students benefit from free and reduced breakfast and lunch programs at school, a family’s food resources often become most scarce over the weekend. Crotts says that’s when kids often go hungry.

To address this need, Manahan and Scates began collecting backpacks and food items from the Gardner-Webb community. Now, every other week, the backpacks are stuffed with food by Garner-Webb chemistry honors club members and delivered to school bus drivers who give them to the kids as they head home for the weekend. Crotts estimates that hundreds of children have benefited from the program since it was launched.

Learn more about Hunger Action Month at FeedingAmerica.org

To donate items to the Bulldog Backpack Project, contact LouAnn Scates or call 704-406-4263