Knapsacks for Kids Feeds Hungry School Children

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CULLMAN – Knapsacks for Kids is an organization that feeds starving children in Cullman County. Melissa Betts, children’s minister at First United Methodist and director of Knapsacks for Kids, explained the way it works. The backpacks are packed at First United Methodist Church every Thursday. The children take them home Friday and bring them back to school on Monday.

These organizations rely heavily on volunteers and can always use help. They work anonymously: they give the backpacks to the school and the school takes it from there. There are currently seven schools not being served in Cullman County. 

The program got its start when Betts realized just giving children meals over the Thanksgiving holiday was not enough. She realized she had to think of the bigger need; something more needed to be done. “There are kids hungry every single week throughout the year,” she stated. She started making contacts and looking into other programs. She got a grant from a program called Servants Like Jesus. That first check took them a lot further than they could have ever imagined.

Betts stated, “It’s so easy just to give, we have a church that does a food drive each month. Think about how you can help.”

Donations of any amount will go into a fund for the program. Two hundred dollars is the cost of sponsoring one child for a year.

Programs like this not only need money, but they need volunteers, food and space.

Another program similar to Knapsacks for Kids is Secret Meals, the program sponsored by Alabama Credit Union.

The Cullman branch supervisor, Laurie Legg, heads up the program. They do all sorts of fundraisers to raise money for this program. They are currently feeding eight schools.

Cullman Caring for Kids is a program similar to these; only it serves as more of a community food bank.

The program is now partnering with Secret Meals and Knapsack for Kids, in addition to the amazing work that it is already doing in the community.

Cullman Caring for Kids Executive Director Javon Daniel stated, “If the food is donated to us, it doesn’t make any difference who gets it to them, just the fact that they have it.”

Hunger is physically, emotionally and mentally damaging to a child’s well-being.

An adult cannot function hungry and neither can a child. Since it affects their focus on school, it also affects their education and future. These programs are making a difference in many children’s lives and need all the support they can.

For more information about these organizations including volunteering opportunities, contact Laurie Legg for Secret Meals at 256-737-9885 or llegg@AlabamaCU.com or Melissa Betts at 256-734-6690 or mbetts@cullmanfumc.com.