More than 700 students in need receive food and supplies every Friday thanks to a Rock Hill school district program.
Now, a grant will help the district provide more nutritional options through its Back the Pack program.
Michele Boyne, member of the Rock Hill Schools Education Foundation, said the program identifies undernourished elementary and middle school students and provides food assistance on weekends and other times school meals are not available. Boyne oversees the Back the Pack program.
On Wednesday, the district announced that a $42,000 gift from Walmart will help the district include more nutritional options in the bags. The grant will last two years.
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The Back the Pack program, Boyne said, costs the district about $60,000 a year.
“Because of this grant, our kids are not only receiving food, but much healthier food,” said Alice Davis, president of the Rock Hill Schools Education Foundation. “They need that good food to make their brains ready on Monday morning. It’s very important.”
S.C. Sen. Wes Climer, R-Rock Hill, said the grant is an example of the community’s commitment to children.
“These are incredible programs and the way our community has rallied around them is evidence not only of the extraordinary work they do in the lives of children in our schools, but is also evidence of this community’s steadfast commitment to providing a high-quality education to every child in this community,” Climer said.
Smooth Move, a moving company in Rock Hill, helps transport the meals to schools.
School board members and others also helped students pack food bags Wednesday morning at the Applied Technology Center.
“We’re thankful for what Walmart has done,” Rock Hill Mayor John Gettys said. “We won’t know the real results of all this, but we will see it on a daily basis when teachers can get to teaching and kids can get to learning because they are not hungry.”
Back the Pack, Davis said, supports students’ basic needs and enables them to have a better education and a brighter future that includes jobs and continuing their education.
“... so hopefully their children will not have to worry about where their food is going to come from,” Davis said. “Back the Pack is not just a success for Rock Hill, but a success for the entire community. We need them to have that education to make all the businesses in Rock Hill better for our community.”
Amanda Harris: 803-329-4082