HENRY COUNTY (WSLS 10) - "We've seen students crying because they've not received their backpack. That's just how dependent they are upon it," explained Martinsville Middle School guidance counselor Alysa Stokes.
Stokes has seen firsthand just how important the backpacks full of food from the Community Storehouse are to the district, which is why she said its tough to know that some of the students who currently receive them may soon no longer have that luxury.
"It's very concerning. Not just for myself, but for our students because they're our number-one priority and we want to make sure that they're safe; that they have what they need," Stokes emphasized.
During the school year, teachers, guidance counselors and nurses make a note of students who they believe may qualify for the backpack program and refer those students to the Community Storehouse.
The student's situation is reviewed and if they're approved, the Storehouse will send a bag full of non-perishable food items to the school each Friday for the student to take home so that they have something to eat over the weekend when they can't get meals from school.
"This just came in today. The two boys in this referral are twin brothers," said Community Storehouse Executive Director Travis Adkins, as he held the referral in his hands. "They are often teased for having tattered clothing, student often licks the food tray after eating."
That's just one of the dozens of referrals.
But, because of thousands of dollars in unforeseen building maintenance, not receiving a $25,000 grant and less funding than expected from the community, the organization needs between $30,000 and $40,000 by the end of the year.
"If we don't have the money, we'll have to start denying students," Adkins said. "We don't want to face that."
Monetary donations as well as donations of kid-friendly, non-perishable food items can be dropped off at the Community Storehouse located at 4201 Greensboro Road in Ridgeway.
Monetary donations can also be made online.
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