‘We Care’ weekend food program may expand to all schoolsPublished 2:18pm Friday, July 5, 2013
MADISON – The grocery list covers only a few basics but can mean that a child isn’t hungry for the weekend.
The “We Care” initiative provides food packs to almost 350 students at 10 of 11 Madison City Schools campuses on weekends during the school year. For eligibility, students must satisfy federal qualifications for free and reduced-priced school meals.
Twenty-three percent of children qualify in the Madison district, director of student services Dennis James said. He coordinates We Care for the school system.
A typical package contains breakfast cereal and energy bar, two packs of peanut butter crackers, two granola or pudding snacks, fruit, one juice box, pasta or beans/franks and one can of soup, Fred Stierwalt said. He coordinates CrossPointe Church’s food program and volunteers at Inside-Out Ministries.
“We’ve received very positive feedback from families in the program,” James said. “The reality is we have some families who really struggle to put food on the table. No parent wants to see their child go hungry.”
“Churches in Madison make (We Care) a reality,” Inside-Out Ministries co-founder Larry Ward said. Inside-Out stores the food, with volunteers assembling about 220 packages monthly.
Inside-Out, Trinity Baptist and Asbury United Methodist churches started the program. Trinity now assists Columbia and Rainbow elementaries. Asbury helps at Discovery Middle and West Madison Elementary schools.
Other sponsors are CrossPointe for Horizon Elementary School; Messiah Lutheran Church, Liberty Middle School; St. John the Baptist Catholic Church, Heritage Elementary School; and Alabama Credit Union, Madison and Mill Creek elementary schools. School counselors distribute packages.
CrossWinds UMC recently volunteered to assist James Clemens High School. James encourages other sponsors to ‘adopt’ Bob Jones High School. An organization can adopt a school for part of a month, and current sponsors will give backup, as needed.
Inside-Out and St. Vincent de Paul Society also assist qualifying families with utilities, rent and medical bills. Asbury Community Thrift Store donates clothing.
For information, call James at 256-464-8370, ext. 10380 or email to firstname.lastname@example.org.