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BackPack Program Hopes to End Child Hunger

When you think of a backpack...pens, paper and notebooks usually come to mind. But for one Berkeley County group, backpacks are filled with food.

BERKELEY COUNTY, W.Va. - When you think of a backpack...pens, paper and notebooks usually come to mind. But for one Berkeley County group, backpacks are filled with food.

The Berkeley County BackPack program volunteers fill bags with food for county students who may not have something to eat over the weekend with the hopes of stopping child hunger - one backpack at a time

"I knew there was a need but I had no idea the need was so great, right here in our backyard," said Jennifer Yeater, President of the Berkeley County BackPack program.

The BackPack program  is a national program created to provide hungry children with food on the weekends and school vacations.

"It's just sad that there's just that many students living in our county that have limited to no food source," said Yeater. "And it's just important that we continue to do what we do because they're counting on the food, this is their food source."

The Berkeley County BackPack program launched in November 2010 and they've grown from helping one school to nearly 24.

"We've gotten a lot of comments on how it's beneficial to the students, you know they're able to have food in their belly which makes for a different personality, attitude in a child's outlook on life," said Yeater.

During their weekly bagging sessions, volunteers pack as many as 400 bags or more. After the completed bags leave the assembly line, they're organized into color coded bags by school so the delivery teams know where to take them.

All the food is donated from the local food bank and the community.

"Because of a generous community that we live in," said Yeater. "Businesses, churches, individuals, you know it takes the community to be able to do what we do, to be able to meet the need that we have week, month after month, year after year."

There are 15 counties in West Virginia with BackPack programs. The Berkeley County BackPack program hopes to expand that number to the entire state. For more information about the Berkeley County BackPack program and how to get involved, check out their website here: http://feedbcwvkids.org/

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