“BackPacks for Fridays” – have you ever heard of this? Let me explain how this simple weekly activity helps so many children in southeast Missouri. The objective of this program, spearheaded locally by Southeast Missouri Food Bank, is to better feed hungry children. Approximately ten pounds of food is sent home to an eligible student’s family each weekend during the school year. According to the SEMO Food Bank, “Backpacks are filled with non-perishable, easy-to-open meals, and snacks to feed a family of four for a weekend. A donation of $320 will provide a weekend backpack for one child and their family throughout a 36 week school year.”

With the help of many local volunteers, backpacks are filled with meals and snacks and discreetly distributed to elementary children for use over the weekend and holiday vacations. Then on Monday the students return the backpacks, and they are refilled for the next weekend. In this photo you can see two of the bank’s employees who regularly participate (Cindy Bertrand and Karlis Hennrich) as they gather the food for the backpacks. Our staff has a soft heart for children and pets, so this is one outward way they try to make a difference in the hearts and stomachs of children. I am sure each of us can remember coming home after school during the elementary years and enjoying a snack before starting homework. Research has reported that when children experience even occasional hunger, it affects their ability to concentrate and their temperament. Building strong wholesome children has to start early.

Approximately 14 Alliance Bank staff members from the Cape Girardeau branch participate in this volunteer effort to help give back to the community. This is reinforced by the bank — allowing employees to volunteer up to three hours per month with pay.

Join Alliance Bank and become involved in some type of volunteer work… if not BackPacks… try any one of the other avenues available in the Cape Girardeau region.