Lumpkin Family Connection Helps Bring Thanksgiving to Local Students

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Lumpkin County Sheriff's Office helps pack foodSheriff Stacy Jarrard of the Lumpkin County Sheriff’s Office lines up boxes of food that will go to food-insecure students and their families.

Twenty-five food-insecure students from Lumpkin County sat down to Thanksgiving meals this year—with plenty of leftovers—thanks to the BackPack Buddy Program, which Lumpkin County Family Connection and partners kicked off to celebrate National Hunger and Homelessness Awareness Week.

“With the help of Georgia Mountain Food Bank, Lumpkin County Middle School, and the Lumpkin County Sheriff’s Office, we were able to pack 25 backpacks and send them home,” said Brigette Barker, Lumpkin County Family Connection executive director. “By coming together, we were able to provide food for two weekends and extra supplements for the Thanksgiving Break.”

One in four children is food insecure in Lumpkin County, where there’s a 60-percent free and reduced lunch rate. The Family Connection Collaborative and its partners serve 65 families with 200 children.

“Our county is located in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains, so it’s mostly rural, making isolation an issue,” said Barker. “Families often live far from town, and they struggle with transportation. That’s is why it’s so vital that we send the food home on buses with the students, or have it delivered by a volunteer.”

BackPack Buddies provides children from food-insecure homes with healthy weekend meals during the school year. The children, selected by school principals, guidance counselors, and supervisors of various after-school programs, receive a backpack containing balanced meals and healthy snacks.

“We can’t wait to see this program grow,” said Barker. “And we hope the vacant eighth-grade cafeteria that Lumpkin County Middle School Principal Chris Froggatt has allowed us to use for the project will become a hub that can eventually disperse to other schools within the system. It’s like the space has been waiting for us to implement a Backpack Buddy Program.”

Packing food in Lumpkin CountyLumpkin County Middle School counselor Gala Fugate loads up backpacks.

This isn’t the first time Lumpkin County Family Connection and its collaborative partners have garnered attention for getting food to the most vulnerable families in the area. Find out why singer and “Dancing with the Stars” contestant Cody Simpson visited the county.

Contact:
Bill Valladares
GaFCP Communications Director
404-527-7394 (x113)
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