SGA, Hunger and Health Coalition partner to help children

SGA, Hunger and Health Coalition partner to help children

Nicole Caporaso

Appalachian State University’s Student Government Association will work with the Hunger and Health Coalition to participate in the BackPack Program as its annual service project.

The BackPack Program collects snacks and food items to put into backpacks that go to Watauga County schools. Students from the schools can take the backpack home over the weekend if their home life does not permit them enough food to eat over the weekend.

“At the beginning of the year we purchase 100 backpacks,” Crystal Winebarger, director of operations with the Hunger and Health Coalition, said. “The items are put in the backpacks, which are put in the guidance office on Friday afternoons and any kid can take a backpack for the weekend and walk out.”

Winebarger said the normal items put into the backpacks include individual boxes of cereal, one serving cans of pasta, crackers, fruit cups and shelf-stable milk.

Alyssa Frizzelle, SGA director of Student Affairs, said this is the first time SGA is partnering with the Hunger and Health Coalition for their service project.

“Each year about 40 percent of the kids in Watauga County schools qualify for free or reduced lunch, the Hunger and Health Coalition helps these families to provide food for the times kids are not in school,” Frizzelle said. “I think sometimes as college students, we forget how privileged we are to be receiving an education and we get so wrapped up in our daily lives and school work that we forget to give back to the community around us.”

SGA will collect donations through April 25 at its office and will also have a contact table set up outside of The Market in Plemmons Student Union.

Frizzelle said all SGA senators will be required to contribute a minimum of five items.

“There is no specific goal in mind, but I would love to see as much support as possible,” she said.  “In the past, this project was very central to SGA, but I think by expanding to a donation table at The Market, especially as the semester nears to a close and some students have a lot of extra money, that we can get a large number of donations.”

SGA President Dylan Russell said this initiative shows that SGA wants to not only affect Appalachian, but also the Watauga community.

“It is a sad fact that, within the progressive beacon of hope that Appalachian is and has been, there are individuals within our community struggling to make ends meet,” he said. “SGA seeks to bridge the chasm of the haves and have-nots with this exciting initiative.”

Story: Nicole Caporaso, News Reporter