07/06/09 — Church reaches out to hungry schoolchildren

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Church reaches out to hungry schoolchildren

By Phyllis Moore
Published in News on July 6, 2009 2:10 PM

With a mission to feed hungry children in area schools, one local church is in need of community support, with hopes that others might join the ranks.

FLOK, For the Love of Kids, was introduced in March at Garris Chapel United Methodist Church near LaGrange.

"Children all over the world go to bed hungry. Here in our own backyard there are hungry children," explained Christina Brown, office manager at the church. "Fortunately on school days, children who qualify are provided free or reduced lunches. Weekends for some of these children are tough. They go hungry and look forward to school so they may eat another filling meal."

The church chose to serve nearby Spring Creek Elementary School. Each Friday afternoon, backpacks were dropped off at the school, filled with enough food to last through the weekend.

Sponsoring six children since March 13, Ms. Brown said, "We provided 468 meals for the rest of the school year, 36 meals each weekend."

Their goal is to double that number next year.

First Missionary Baptist Church in LaGrange has since joined the effort, becoming affiliated with LaGrange Elementary School. Hopefully, other churches or groups will likewise respond.

"As we get more churches involved, they can pick the school that they're closest to," she said. "If we are able to grow large enough, we will also contibute to other schools."

For now, the provision only happens during the school year, Ms. Brown said, because many of the families lack transportation to pick up the back packs. The summer months are being used to raise awareness and funds and to replenish the food supply.

"But we do give families a list of agencies and churches who are able to provide assistance during the summer," she noted.

To start off the coming school strongly, collecting a surplus of items, Ms. Brown said several efforts are going on through the church.

In October, a yard sale at the church is planned.

On Saturday, July 18, a FLOK car wash will be held from 9 a.m. until noon at Auto Zone on N.C. 111 South. The joint venture between Garris Chapel and First Missionary Baptist Church will be donation only, either food or money.

"Money raised will be used to purchase food as needed, wheeled school bags, can openers and microwaves for those whom we are giving to that don't have such items to prepare the food," Ms. Brown explained. "We also welcome donations of gently used microwaves and can openers."

Donations will also be accepted at the church, at 823 Piney Grove Road in LaGrange. Among the typical things provided in a back pack are canned meat, canned vegetables, canned fruit, juice boxes, oatmeal or breakfast bars, snack items, noodle items and individual-size milk boxes. For a complete list of recommended items, visit the church Website at www.garrischapel.com.

According to Ms. Brown, there are similar back pack programs throughout the country, but to her knowledge one had not been started in this area.

"We're kind of mirroring other programs," she said. "It's all about the children, so we really welcome anyone to get involved in this program. We definitely want to grow and help as many children as we can."