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Advocate Editorial Board opinion: Support groups that give students enough food, supplies

By By the Advocate Editorial Board
July 31, 2014 at 2:31 a.m.


August is synonymous with the beginning of another school year.

In a few weeks, children in the Crossroads will begin another yearlong ritual of waking up early, trekking to class and learning something new each day.

And they will learn best when they are best prepared - that means with appropriate school supplies and without hunger pangs.

A church, two businesses and two nonprofits - all with long records of charitable endeavors in the region - are working again to help financially disadvantaged children best prepare for another academic year.

And these groups are relying on the unwavering generosity of Crossroads residents and businesses to help them achieve their worthy goals.

Pack the Bus is a program hosted by Faith Family Church, and organizers hope to help more than 3,000 children who will receive new school supplies through the donations packed on each school bus at H-E-B and H-E-B Plus!

Children in need of school supplies can register between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. from Friday through Aug. 14 at Faith Family Church, 2002 Mockingbird Lane, and the VISD administrative offices, 102 Profit Drive.

Aug. 8 and Aug. 9, school buses will be set up at the two H-E-B grocery stores for donations.

For more information, call Faith Family Church at 361-573-2484 or KIDZ Connection at 361-788-9250.

• Wal-Mart and United Way are joining forces nationwide to sponsor Fill the Bus, a campaign to collect school supplies for children in need. Both Victoria Wal-Mart stores will collect supplies through Aug. 8.

Prepacked bags full of basic supplies, such as spiral notebooks, folders and pencils, range from $5 to $10. Customers deposit the blue recyclable bags in bins near the exits as they leave. They can also select the supplies for students from the school section - such as spiral notebooks, notebook paper, folders with pockets, three-ring binders, erasers, glue sticks, highlighters, No. 2 pencils and crayons - and drop their purchases in the containers.

"We want every child to have a good first-day-going-back-to-school experience," said Robert Smith, co-manager for Wal-Mart, 9002 N. Navarro St. The other Wal-Mart is at 4001 Houston Highway.

The Food Bank of the Golden Crescent's BackPack program has a goal of serving about 1,000 children in its 11-county service area, according to the organization's website. The program is designed to meet the needs of hungry children when free or reduced-priced school lunches are not available, such as weekends and school vacations.

The program provides backpacks filled with food that children take home on weekends. The food is child-friendly, nonperishable, easily consumed and vitamin fortified, according to the nonprofit's website.

For more information or to find out how you can help support the BackPack program, contact Rachel Jones via email at rajones@feedingamerica.org or by calling 361-578-0591.

Another event to benefit the food bank is the Drenched 5K on Aug. 30 that will allow runners and walkers of all abilities to cool off and help the organization. Participants will run or walk the course at Riverside Park's Special Events Area, and when they've crossed the finish line, they'll be in the middle of the biggest water party of the summer, according to a press release. To register, click here.

These groups are doing important work. Without their efforts, potentially thousands of students would attend class unprepared - unable to concentrate because of the distraction of hunger or unable to complete their assignments because they have no supplies.

In 2014, that should not be allowed to happen.

This editorial reflects the views of the Victoria Advocate's editorial board.

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