Weakley County program ensures kids have food on weekends

WEAKLEY COUNTY, Tenn. — Weakley County Backpack program geared up Tuesday with volunteers who put together meals to feed children.

“We’re going to pack approximately 1,000 bags of food, which will be placed in the children’s backpacks every Friday for the month of December to provide extra food for them on the weekends,” said Colin Johnson, the president of the program.

Johnson says it started 10 years ago after hearing of others doing the same thing around the country.

He says he realized it was needed in his community as well.

“I don’t think anybody realized that we had a problem, that there were so many kids that weren’t being fed,” Johnson said. “So we all got together, discussed it, and we started by feeding maybe 15 or 20 kids at the Dresden Elementary School.”

As of 2021, it now feeds 350 students and services every school in Weakley County.

“When they can get the food that they need on the weekends, they’re coming into school Monday ready to work and to learn. And so if we can help out that family, even if it’s just for a couple months or the entire school year, then we know that that’s going to help them have the nutrition that they need at home,” said Bethany Allen, the Coordinated School Health Director for the Weakley County School System.

County leaders, students and residents of the county come every Tuesday to Dresden First Baptist Church to package the food.

Weakley County Mayor Jake Bynum says it’s an honor to give his time to a nonprofit that cares so much about its community.

“This is one of the greatest opportunities that I have to volunteer. I’m involved in a ton of organizations, as well as so many of our volunteers are” Bynum said. “To be able to come here every month to put the food in the bags, knowing that where it’s ultimately going is just really a blessing, but also a great opportunity to come together as a community.”

Students will also be going home with holiday boxes to make sure their families have a meal on Christmas.

To find out how you can volunteer or donate, click here.

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