According to the No Kid Hungry campaign, 62 percent of America’s teachers regularly see kids who come to school hungry because they aren’t getting enough to eat at home. In southwest Virginia alone, there are hundreds of children who leave school Friday afternoon without knowing where their next meal is coming from.

Through the Commonwealth of Virginia Campaign, Virginia Tech employees have to opportunity to reverse this startling statistic and ensure that every child in southwest Virginia receives the proper nutrition they need to flourish and grow.

This is Micah’s Backpack first year participating in Commonwealth of Virginia Campaign.

“In Blacksburg, 26.56 percent of public school students qualify for free/reduced priced breakfast and lunch,” said Jennie Hodge, executive director for Micah’s Backpack. “Donations through the Commonwealth of Virginia Campaign help to meet the nutrition needs of these children during the weekends when there are no school sponsored meals.”

Micah’s Backpack, a branch of Micah’s Caring Initiative, addresses children’s hunger issues by partnering with local schools to provide direct assistance to students and families who qualify for the free lunch program across Southwest Virginia.

Through the organization, children suffering from hunger receive a backpack filled with enough food for the weekend each and every week during the school year. The backpacks include two dinners, two lunches and two breakfasts.

Currently, Micah’s Backpack partners with all of Blacksburg’s public schools, the Head Start Preschool, and VICCC to provide backpacks to about 280 children.

Each week, nearly 70 volunteers from various academic, civic, and religious groups work together building community while packing the backpacks and the partner schools distribute the backpacks to the students. Packing takes place on Thursdays from 6-7 p.m. at St. Michael’s Lutheran Church in Blacksburg.

“Micah’s Backpack aims to feed hungry children across Southwest Virginia and can be a great display of how much the community truly cares for each other. Donations from Virginia Tech employees will support the health of children in need and will most definitely strengthen the community as a whole.”

First published on October 14, 2014.

Written by Employee Communications Manager Laura Neff-Henderson.