Financial Independence Group’s involvement in The Backpack Buddies program has really opened my eyes to the needs within our community. I recently spoke to my sister, Heather, a third grade teacher at a local elementary school, where the majority of children are on free or reduced lunch.
Heather told me that around Christmas, one particular little boy was so excited about decorating the class Christmas tree. He had never done so before. He later mentioned to Heather that some nights at home all he has to eat is rice. He then admitted that there are nights when he is left at home to keep his two younger siblings and will skip dinner so that they can have more to eat. He said his stomach hurts so badly those nights but he has to be the man of the house. He also mentioned that they never go out to eat. His father works at a furniture manufacturing company and his mother is a stay-at-home mom due largely to the fact that their youngest child has some disabilities. The little boy told Heather that he felt weak telling her these things, but has wanted to share for some time now.
The following Monday, after school, Heather and another teacher went to this child’s home with loads of groceries. The mom wept and expressed her struggles with providing for her children. They are unable to access government assistance due to their citizenship status.
While meeting the family, Heather gained the parent’s consent and was also able to get both school aged children signed up for the Backpack Buddies program. This time, the Dad started crying.
Since then, more of the school staff and families have donated food and restaurant gift cards. Both children received their first backpack last Friday. Heather wished she had gotten their reactions on video.
I am so glad that our staff at Financial Independence Group decided to sponsor 15 children this school year. Now every time I buy food for the backpacks, I will think of this family.
Would you like to help local families like this one? Donate now.