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Jack in the Box donates backpacks to Food Bank program

By Sonny Long
Sept. 18, 2012 at 4:18 a.m.


BACKPACK PROGRAM

Thirty-four schools in 11 counties are taking part in the Food Bank of the Golden Crescent's backpack program. The counties include Victoria, Calhoun, Colorado, DeWitt, Goliad, Gonzales, Jackson, Lavaca, Matagorda, Refugio and Wharton.

Jack in the Box is doing its part to help keep at-risk kids from going hungry.

The fast food restaurant chain has donated 1,100 sports bags for use in the Food Bank of the Golden Crescent's backpack program that sends food home with qualifying children on the weekends.

Children take the full backpack home on Fridays and return it on Mondays to be re-filled at the end of the week.

"These children are the highest at risk in our community," said Dennis Brown, executive director of the Food Bank. "They are never sure they will have a meal after the school meal.

"Attendance is a high objective of the program. Attendance is improved because they have to bring the bags back on Monday to get it filled again on Friday," Brown said. "If they come with nutrition in their bellies on Monday, they are more ready to be a good student. If they are a good student, maybe they will become a good citizen. Attitudes improve. Behavior improves."

Two breakfasts and two other meals are prepackaged and included in the backpack.

"Three years ago, we didn't even have the program," said Brown. "Donations like this are instrumental in continuing to grow the program."

Kelley Williamson, Jack in the Box regional marketing manager, said the backpack program appealed to the company's desire to give back to the community.

"We thought it was a perfect connection to help us make an impact and fill a need in the community," she said. "We appreciate the opportunity."

The bags and food are distributed to the schools, which in turn distribute them to the qualifying children.

Frances Santellana, the Food Bank's liaison with the school districts, said 34 schools in the Crossroads are taking part in the program this year.

Jack in the Box has two locations in Victoria as well as locations in El Campo, Wharton and Bay City.

September is Hunger Action Month, an initiative to mobilize the public to raise awareness and take action in support of domestic hunger relief.

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