By SHELLEY TERRY - firstname.lastname@example.org
In Ashtabula there are students who come to class on Monday, not reluctant to start the school week, but eager to get back to school after going the weekend without a meal.
These children are the reason the Lighthouse Harvest Foundation in the old Ashtabula Armory participate in the Backpack Program, and why companies like Chromaflo of Ashtabula support it.
The Backpack Program partners with the Ashtabula Area City School District in a special food program to ensure that elementary schoolchildren in grades 1-3 receive balanced, nutritious food on weekends. Children at risk receive a bag of food that is child-friendly, nonperishable and easy to prepare and eat over the weekend when schools are unable to provide breakfasts and lunches.
This week, Chromaflo’s Activities Committee is asking its employees to fill a cargo van, donated by Great Lakes Chevrolet, with peanut butter, jelly, cereal, saltine crackers, boxed cereal, large cans of fruit and vegetables and sandwich bags with seals. (Cash donations also are being accepted.) Barrels have been set up in the company’s lunchroom for their convenience.
“When I heard about the Backpack Program, I just thought it was great,” said Jackie Shilling, quality systems specialist at Chromaflo, who’s also on the Activities Committee. “I wanted to help.”
Her co-workers agreed, as did Great Lakes Chevrolet.
Lighthouse Harvest Foundation’s Backpack Program serves 85 to 100 children every week. They prepare homemade foods and then individually package the food in containers, along with various snacks and fruits. The students take the food home.
Lighthouse Harvest Foundation also packs food boxes for about 1,000 people every month, and they have a clothing bank.
Anyone wishing to donate to the Backpack Program should take non-perishable items to the Armory on State Road from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. weekdays.