Jefferson Award: Karen Barbee
MICHIE, Tenn.-“Your shoes are untied baby,” said Karen Barbee to Michie School students waiting outside to get picked up.
After school in Michie, Barbee helps students load up in their cars to make sure they get home safely.
“I tell you what, those kids will get in your heart,” said Barbee.
When she’s done helping students, she’s packing bags. Barbee started the “Backpack Ministry” 15 years ago.
“A lot of the kids didn’t have the money, you know, their parents didn’t send it. It was just ongoing problem and teachers were having to buy snacks for the kids,” said Barbee.
She, along with other “Backpack Gang” volunteers, pack 29 bags per week so children in need have enough food for the weekend. They receive donations through local churches and businesses.
“I feel like if this is a service to Him to help these kids maybe have a better life because it’s going to be a never ending circle and someone has got to help them,” said Barbee.
“I don’t think there are many people like Karen who devote so much of their time to help other people,” said Janet Prater, Karen’s friend.
Barbee says it’s her calling.