Every weekend during the school year, an average of 332 food-stuffed backpacks go home with Callaway students in need.
Fulton and South Callaway elementary schools benefit from The Food Bank of Central and Northeast Missouri's Buddy Pack program, while North Callaway elementary schools' backpack program is sponsored by the North Callaway Christian Alliance. The majority of Callaway schools report that the number of students who partake of the backpack program is on the rise.
North Callaway sends home 63 backpacks every weekend, Fulton 269 and South Callaway 16. New Bloomfield Elementary School doesn't have a backpack program, but Principal Julie Gerloff said she is looking into the possibility of beginning one.
Cheryl Morris, coordinator for the North Callaway Backpack Program, said since beginning the program in 2009, the number of students in need has about doubled every year. Morris said she doesn't expect this to change until the economy turns around.
Schools qualify to be a part of the Food Bank's Buddy Pack program based on student free or reduced lunch numbers. Individual schools chose students for the program based on income information and suggestions from teachers and/or counselors.