‘Manna For Kids’ feeds Hartselle’s hungry childrenPublished 11:56am Wednesday, October 30, 2013
It started with a statistic and two women with a vision of feeding hungry children. Selena Lindsey, a member of Forrest Chapel United Methodist Church, came across a statistic from the Alabama Food Bank website (www.alfood-banks.org) which said that 28 percent of children in Morgan County are food insecure. This means that about 7,000 children in the county may have food today, but may not have food tonight or tomorrow.
Children in school may fit the criteria for free lunch programs during the school week, but what happens to these children on the weekends when there may not be any food at home?
Lindsey was so troubled by this question that she brought the problem to her church, which agreed to respond to this call for help. Selena’s first step was contacting counselors at Hartselle schools to determine the need. In this research, she found Jeana Goodwin, a member at First Independent Methodist Church, who also felt a drive to feed hungry school children in the Hartselle area. Realizing that Forrest Chapel and First Independent could not feed all the hungry children effectively on their own, they enlisted other churches to help.
Responding to this need were First Baptist of Hartselle, Salem United Methodist, and East Highland Baptist churches, and the program was named “Manna for Kids: Hartselle Backpack Food Ministry.”
The churches are each furnishing food for children with dire food needs at Hartselle’s elementary schools. Forrest Chapel is working with Burleson, while East Highland has Crestline. First Independent is working with Barkley Bridge. First Baptist and Salem have pledged to furnish food items.
Sonrise Baptist Church in Hartselle has a similar program for the children at Hartselle Intermediate School.
The ultimate goal is to add children at Hartselle Junior High and Hartselle High schools.
The food that is delivered covers basic needs and is non-perishable and easily consumed. Each child has enough food for three meals plus a snack on Saturday and on Sunday.
Church members bag up a weekend’s worth of food for each child and deliver the food to the school. School counselors see that the food is packed in the child’s backpack confidentially.
The churches are not given the children’s names, only the number of children with dire food needs at each school.
Other churches wishing to participate should contact Forrest Chapel United Methodist Church at 256-773-2730. If there is a child with dire need, the family should contact the child’s school guidance counselor.