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Positively LEX 18: Anderson County Backpack Buddies aims to fight hunger in the community

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Posted at 6:04 PM, Mar 02, 2021
and last updated 2021-03-02 20:06:22-05

LAWRENCEBURG, Ky. (LEX 18) — It's no secret food insecurity amongst children is a problem, even in rural Kentucky. Despite COVID-19, an Anderson County church has continued to feed their community any way they can.

Anderson County Backpack Buddies started as a small way to help kids in need by First Christian Church.

"We started in two schools and about nine bags a week. And we are at all six schools now and we are averaging 230 bags a week," Anderson County Backpack Buddies President, Jody McGrath said.

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The bags are for kids who rely on the school to feed them during the week. Seventeen years later, Backpack Buddies has grown to its own entity while the church continues to donate space. McGrath says everything, such as time, money and food, is donated.

"We try to include two things for breakfast, either oatmeal or cereal. We have what we call a complete meal, where the family can fix it if the family so chooses. Usually, a Cheeseburger Helper, Hamburger Helper, Lasagna Helper, something like that, a fruit, a vegetable," McGrath said.

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Outside the church doors, ministers have created another way of helping their community called a Blessing Box.

"Food insecurity is such a huge issue, you think in big cities but in rural counties as well. So having this where there's no strings attached, there's no requirements. You come, you drop off, you can pick up," Associate Pastor Mike McColl said.

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The church says the Blessing Box gets refilled a couple of times a day. Senior Minister Jim Wheeler shared the story of a woman.

"It was such just a blessing because we had no food. And she said, now I'm back on my feet and she said as often as I can now, I donate to the blessing box," Wheeler said.

"It's powerful, it's amazing to see what a little bit of hospitality can do, to share love in a way that speaks volumes," McColl said.