County Schools recently hosted Make A Change Day, a fundraiser that brought in
$17,000 to help provide weekend meals to children.
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
Matt Ryerson, president and CEO of the
United Way, said Friday a donation had been made to round the amount to an even
“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