“The bottom line is this fundraiser is for the children,” Tom Harris, director of produce at Cooke’s, said. “To think there is a child without a decent meal from the time they leave school on Friday until they come back Monday morning. This is why we are fundraising.”
Customers will be given the option to donate money toward the Sack Pack program when checking out at any of their local stores. It costs $5 to feed one child for a whole weekend. According to the 2010 U.S Census Bureau Report, 26.4 percent of children in Bradley County are living in poverty. This means one out of four of Bradley County children are living day-to-day not knowing if their basic needs will be met. A $20 donation will ensure a child has food every weekend in a month.
According to Chelsea Long, resource developer at The Caring Place, the store managers are hopeful their customers will join them in helping this program.
“We hope the fundraiser will help finance a good portion of the program to keep children from going hungry. Anything raised in our stores goes directly to children in Bradley County,” Harris said.
This is not the first time Cooke’s and Super Saver have partnered with The Caring Place. Harris said the food stores have helped raise food by setting out specially marked barrels for The Caring Place and encouraging people to donate.
“Cooke’s Food Store is the only local supermarket who has been here since the 1930s. Helping out is part of being a part of this community,” Harris said.
A basic need is access to food. Many people who are experiencing poverty lack the funds to purchase necessary food for themselves and their children. Oftentimes, the only meals many students eat are the free or reduced-priced meals the federal government provides at schools. In January 2012, The Caring Place began the Sack Pack program to address this need. The Sack Pack Program is providing 10-15 nutritious food items that are shelf-stable and kid-friendly for the weekends for economically disadvantaged students who attend three Bradley County elementary schools. The food is placed in white paper bags and closed with specially printed stickers for the program.
According to Long, the food is placed in the book bags of children in need. This maintains a level of privacy for the children involved in the program. A first grade student who received these packs in the spring 2012 school semester reported they felt special receiving bags that looked so pretty.
The Caring Place is a Christian nonprofit organization based in Cleveland which focuses on meeting the basic needs of the local poor and disadvantaged. In 2011 alone, The Caring Place assisted 3,349 different households, provided 172 tons of food and helped 188 homeless households at the hands of more than 130 of its active volunteers.
For more information about The Caring Place or The Sack Pack Program, contact Chelsea Long at (423) 472-4414 or Chelsea@thecaringplaceonline.org.