Spring break highlights growing need for Backpack Program

TERRE HAUTE, Ind. (WTHI) – Spring break is right around the corner. Next week, thousands of Vigo County students will get a much needed vacation from the classroom, but for those who are left to wonder where their next meal is coming from it’s not exactly an exciting time.

“I think students, who are in a situation where food is short or not at all present, look at Spring break as just something they have to exist through.”

Susan Eisman has been passionately involved in the Backpack Program since starting the initiative less than 10-years ago. “Because every time a student picks up one of those they let go of the fear and the apprehension of not having anything to eat, to knowing someone cares about them and cares about their future,” she said.

Otherwise, nearly 800 Vigo County students would otherwise go without. Every weekend a bag filled with snacks is what gets them through. “We have been slow to turn around economically, in the city and the county, which is then reflected in the life of a child,” said Eisman.

The number of children asking to take home food, just at Terre Haute North, nearly tripled this Spring break. As the need to continues to grow, there are more dollars going out than coming in.

“We wouldn’t be able to send home just the basic pack without additional funding,” said Eisman.

It cost, on average, $5 to fill one backpack. Even a small donation could make a big difference to a hungry student. “It’s just a way of loving a child who doesn’t have it. You basically invited them to dinner,” said Eisman.

With summer just a couple of months away, food items and monetary donations are greatly needed. To learn more about lending a helping hand call the Vigo County School Corporation at (812) 462-4011.