Education

More help needed for Rock Hill’s Back the Pack nutrition program

In this file photo from earlier this year, the Rock Hill Schools Education Foundation received a $50,000 grant from Walmart to support its Back the Pack program. Rock Hill City Council member and mayor pro tem Jim Reno, left, spoke at the presentation in front of hundreds of packages of nonperishable food items and snacks for Rock Hill students that Back the Pack provides.
In this file photo from earlier this year, the Rock Hill Schools Education Foundation received a $50,000 grant from Walmart to support its Back the Pack program. Rock Hill City Council member and mayor pro tem Jim Reno, left, spoke at the presentation in front of hundreds of packages of nonperishable food items and snacks for Rock Hill students that Back the Pack provides. aburriss@heraldonline.com

The Rock Hill Schools Education Foundation wants to increase its Back the Pack campaign that provides food to needy students.

School district officials estimate that about 1,000 students – 1 in every 17 in the district –qualify for the program which distributes backpacks of food to students who otherwise would go hungry over the weekend.

The foundation distributed backpacks to 693 students last year. This year’s goal is 800.

The foundation would like to be able to expand the nutrition program to all 1,000-plus students.

“That’s our heart pain,” said Mikki Rentschler, president of the foundation. “We would like to serve all those in need.”

The Back the Pack program was started in 2008 by the school district as it tried to identify factors which kept students from learning. District officials discovered students who left school each Friday and don’t eat another full meal until they return Monday.

Since then the program has assisted more than 4,900 students.

The foundation runs the Back the Pack program through donations of food and time. Additional food is purchased. The foundation spent $56,594 last year.

The foundation is increasing its funding goal this year. It wants to raise $232,000 – four times what the foundation raised four years ago.

In addition to the Back the Pack program, the foundation gives grants to teachers and supports the district 1:1 iRock technology initiative.

The foundation’s goals are providing $85,000 in education grants, doubling the amount of corporate grants to $50,500 and providing $25,000 in technology support to the schools.

Don Worthington: 803-329-4066, @rhherald_donw

Want to help?

For information on the Rock Hill Schools Education Foundation, go to rhsdfoundation.org.

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