Group that feeds kids for weekends now starving for funds - KFVS12 News & Weather Cape Girardeau, Carbondale, Poplar Bluff

Group that feeds kids for weekends now starving for funds


A group that's worked for more than a decade to provide food for needy kids is starving for funds.

There's no question times are tough in Franklin County. The unemployment rate sits at 11.2 percent, and Benton Grade School Principal Sue Krapf says a high percentage of kids in her school are on the free or reduced lunch program.

Now a program that supplies food for those kids over the weekend is running on empty.

"I'm sure it's just because it's been going so long people don't think about it anymore, and maybe the economy has hurt the donors," said First Baptist Church Deacon Dick Rouse.

Rouse says the Brown Bag Program started more than a decade ago in his living room after his wife, a cook at the Benton Grade School, noticed some kids were going hungry at home.

"It bothered her real bad that these kids would come to her at breakfast and say ‘can you give us a little extra because we haven't eaten all weekend and we're real hungry today'," said Rouse.

The program has since grown from a handful of brown bags to now 140 assembled by volunteers at the First Baptist Church and delivered to the school weekly.

"[Students] look for their bag, if they're leaving early they make sure we know they haven't gotten their bag yet," said Krapf.

While the need has grown over the years, donor support has thinned out. Rouse says it's to the point that now the church only has enough money to fill brown bags for two more months.

"This is strictly operated by donations, that's the only way it's done," said Rouse. "Merchants give us a break on some things, but it takes a lot of money to run the program like this with so many people."

If you'd like to help, send donations to: First Baptist Church, 201 South Main Street, Benton, IL 62812

Please make checks payable to FBC-Brown Bag.

You can also call the church at (618) 438-7661 to learn other ways you can help.

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