Senoia approves summer meal program

The non-profit Backpack Buddies organization founded two years ago by the Vineyard Community Church in Senoia received approval last week from the Senoia City Council to use the Freeman Sasser building at Seavy Street Park for a new initiative, “Summer F.U.N. Coweta,” that will provide meals for at-risk children during the summer months.

Backpack Buddies began operations two years ago as a way to provide nutritious meals for Coweta County elementary school students who receive breakfast and lunch at school but do not always have such a meal on weekends and holidays. The effort blossomed since the program’s inception and is now providing those meals for at-risk children in eight of the county’s elementary schools.

Backpack Buddies President April Anderson in the presentation explained that the “F.U.N.” in the new “Summer F.U.N. Coweta” initiative stands for Feeding-Uplifting-Nourishing.

“The huge missing element of this program and the question I am repeatedly asked is ‘What do you do about the summer?’ This has been an overwhelming task, as our students are spread out all over the county and typically have no means of transportation,” Anderson said. “This year we have partnered with local churches, organizations, food ministries and members of our community to come up with a feasible solution. We will be launching these summer feeding programs at different locations around the county. Bridging the Gap for the west side, possibly Trinity Christian Fellowship and one other more central location. Specifically for Senoia, I am seeking your permission for the use of the Freeman Sasser building.”

Anderson said the location of the Freeman Sasser building is one that is within walking distance for the majority of the children that will benefit from the program.

“We want to better the lives of these children, not just feed them,” Anderson said. “We plan on having a variety of activities led by church leaders, police officers, firemen and members of the community of Senoia.”

The council agreed to the request to have the building available to the organization on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays from 11:30 a.m. until 1 p.m. beginning June 4 and running through Aug. 3.

Anderson after the meeting said there are at least 10 area churches and civic organization currently slated to participate in the Summer F.U.N. Coweta program. The program will accommodate up to 50 children, Anderson said.

Anderson said Backpack Buddies will be sending permission forms home with the school kids for their parents to sign and return.

“This is a start in the right direction. This is the community reaching out and caring for its own,” Anderson said, adding the hope that, if successful, the program might expand to additional locations next year.

Backpack Buddies is a ministry of Vineyard Community Church. For more information on the program call 770-880-3766.