$17K in change given for Sac Pac program

By CHRISTY ARMSTRONG

Posted 11/5/17

Bradley

County Schools recently hosted Make A Change Day, a fundraiser that brought in

$17,000 to help provide weekend meals to children. All the

county schools participated in Make …

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$17K in change given for Sac Pac program

BRADLEY COUNTY SCHOOLS collectively raised nearly $17,000 on Make A  Change Day to support The Caring Place's Sac Pac program. Tallying the results at the Cleveland Bradley County Teachers Federal Credit Union are, from left, Randy Howard, executive director of the the Caring Place; Michele Dunkle, counselor at Prospect Elementary; and Leslie Sims, manager of the credit union.
BRADLEY COUNTY SCHOOLS collectively raised nearly $17,000 on Make A Change Day to support The Caring Place's Sac Pac program. Tallying the results at the Cleveland Bradley County Teachers Federal Credit Union are, from left, Randy Howard, executive director of the the Caring Place; Michele Dunkle, counselor at Prospect Elementary; and Leslie Sims, manager of the credit union.
Banner photo, DANIEL GUY
Posted

Bradley County Schools recently hosted Make A Change Day, a fundraiser that brought in $17,000 to help provide weekend meals to children. 

All the county schools participated in Make A Change Day Thursday. Funds were given local nonprofit The Caring Place’s Sac Pac program. Students, educators and other school supporters collected spare change for the program, hoping the efforts would result in a different kind of change. 

The final dollar amount was tallied at Cleveland Bradley County Teachers Federal Credit Union on Friday. Once representatives from all the county schools dropped off their change, the total was $16,992.94. 

Matt Ryerson, president and CEO of the United Way, said Friday a donation had been made to round the amount to an even $17,000. 

“For our schools to rally in this way is extraordinary,” said Ryerson. “I think it says a lot about the community and how it cares for its kids.” 

Workers with The Caring Place’s Sac Pac program, which is supported in part by the United Way, deliver bags of food to schools each Friday. Teachers and school counselors then discreetly distribute them to students who have inadequate access to food at home over the weekend. 

Dr. Randy Howard, executive director of The Caring Place, said approximately 590 Sac Pacs are distributed to 14 Bradley County schools each Friday. 

Each bag is filled with 4 to 5 pounds of easy-to-prepare food to be eaten over the course of a weekend. This food is sourced from an area food bank, at the cost of approximately $5 per bag.  With 590 children needing these bags each week, it costs around $2,950 for just one week. 

“We are thrilled by all the support coming from Bradley County Schools,” said Howard. “It was so exciting to see all the donations coming in and to meet some of the educators involved in this drive. It was obvious these educators have a great compassion to serve these children at risk of hunger.” 

Dr. Linda Cash, director of Bradley County Schools, said she is “extremely proud” of the way the school district rallied to help children in need. She also offered special thanks to Steve Montgomery, principal of Prospect Elementary School, and Michele Dunkle, counselor at Prospect, for planning the fundraising effort. 

“It went exceptionally well,” Cash said. “We all have a heart for kids, and we do have children who would go hungry on the weekends without the Sac Pac program.” 

Cash added students who come from low-income households can and do eat breakfast and lunch at school on weekdays. She added cafeteria staffs  “do a great job making sure they have good, nutritious meals.” 

However, some children go home to empty refrigerators and cabinets. Some children have told their teachers the only time they really get to eat a meal is when they are at school. 

“So many children in our community go hungry over the weekend — if they do not have something like this,” Ryerson explained. “That’s just not acceptable.” 

Because of the Sac Pac program, more local children are getting the nutrients they need as they grow. As a result, they are more likely to arrive to school each Monday feeling less hungry. 

Cash said Bradley County Schools values the Sac Pac program for what it does to help children each week, and there is a possibility Make A Change Day will become an annual event. 

For more information on the Sac Pac program or to add to the donations, visit http://thecaringplaceonline.org or call 423-472-4414. 

 

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