“In Northeast Louisiana over 60,000 children are enrolled in free and reduced lunch. The BackPack Program allows children to bring home nutritious food when other resources are not available, such as on the weekends or during school vacations. BackPacks are filled by volunteers with child-friendly, non-perishable, and vitamin fortified food. The backpacks are then discreetly distributed to the at-risk children at a local school. We are currently distributing 100 back packs, serving 181 children each week.
The Backpack program concept originated in several places, one being the Arkansas Rice Depot in Little Rock. A school nurse at an inner-city school asked for help because hungry students were coming to her with stomach aches and dizziness. In response, the food bank began providing the school children groceries in non-descript backpacks to carry home, freeing them of the stigma of poverty that many low-income children face among their peers.
The BackPack Program is a national program supported by America’s Second Harvest. There are over 110 BackPack Programs operating in 39 states and Washington D.C. The BackPack Program is the fastest growing program within the America ’s Second Harvest Network.”
(From the web site of the Food Bank of Northeast Louisiana.)
In years past on World Communion Sunday, we’ve had special offerings to help alleviate world hunger, such as the World Vision Love Loaf offering. This year, we’re doing something about hunger right in our own community.
Also, in keeping with this local emphasis, instead of doing the “breads from around the world” thing as we have in years past, this year on World Communion Sunday we will have plain, simple, white loaf bread. Why? Because when most hungry people in our part of the world pray “Give us this day our daily bread,” they’re not thinking about anything exotic: they’d be happy to have some “normal” white bread. With the economy as it is, even more people are experiencing hunger. “Give us this day our daily bread” is beginning to hit home.
World Communion Sunday is one of my two favorite “special” Sundays of the year. The other one is Souper Bowl of Caring Sunday. That’s because both of these Sundays call us to look beyond our own needs, as individuals and as a church, and to step up and be the church for the sake of our communities.