Backpacks Filled With Nutritional Food For East Texas Students - KLTV.com - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News

4/17/06-Tyler

Backpacks Filled With Nutritional Food For East Texas Students

Their goal is to help our East Texas children receive proper nutrition to better their lives and stay focused at school. One in four East Texas children are at risk of hunger, according to the East Texas Food Bank.

However, two groups in Tyler are filling backpacks to fill stomachs.

"The applesauce is my favorite because, I love applesauce," says Ben, a 10-year-old from Douglas Elementary School.

"My favorite thing is these breakfast breaks," says Erica, a 10-year-old from Douglas Elementary School.

Eight year old Kendrick says he knows what it's like to be hungry. "It was everyday, almost every day. Before I was in the backpack club. Now I have snacks," says Kendrick.

His favorite snack is the fruit smoothies.

The Backpack Club is a program providing smiles and nutrition to Tyler elementary and middle school students, provided by the Junior League of Tyler and the East Texas Food Bank.

"The reason we started the program was because we found out there were kids going home over the weekend without food to eat. They come back Monday morning hungry and not ready to learn, sleeping on their desks and having some discipline problems. We want to make sure people do not have to make choices of food or utilities, or food or medical bills," says Robert Bush, Executive Director of East Texas Food Bank.

Volunteers who spend about an hour a week filling the backpacks say it makes them happy to know they're helping.

"This helps them learn better and keeps them more focused. When you are hungry it's hard to concentrate on things," says Jo Demoville, Tyler Junior League Volunteer.

Volunteers know, when these students leave school, they are not leaving nutrition behind. The East Texas Food Bank says the program costs about $112.00 per child a year.

For information, call the East Texas Food Bank.

Karolyn Davis, reporting.
kdavis@kltv.com

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