VERO BEACH — The “Backpack” program is making headway as more schools are signed up and needy students enrolled as all but four elementary schools in Indian River County are now participating. Children who had little or no food to carry them through the weekend can count on leaving school on Fridays with sufficient groceries to see them through Monday.
Getting this program off the ground was a major undertaking of the Orchid Island Rotary Club led by their President Cindy Scherpf. Last week Cindy accepted a check for $10,000 from Rev. Richard Murphy, Holy Cross Catholic Church on behalf of the “Backpack Program”.
The monies are the proceeds from the 9th Annual Holy Cross Golf Tournament which took place at Bent Pine Country Club with 144 participants. Fr. Murphy designated Backpack as the beneficiary of the tournament recognizing the dire need of over 400 elementary school kids in our community. This contribution will enable two more schools to be added to the program. Although elated with the increased presence in the elementary schools, the club was concerned about the summer months. Fortunately the necessary funds were raised to provide backpacks at select locations for this time period.
The focus has now switched to the upcoming school year that begins in August. The “Backpackers” have only sufficient funding to take them part way through the year and the challenge of adding two more locations at an approximate cost of $5,000 each. Hopefully the generous spirit in our county will once more rise and we will be able to see that kids don’t go through the weekends with little or no food. Five dollars fills a backpack, so each weekend costs about $2,000.
Checks can be made out to “Treasure Coast Food Bank” Attn: IRC Backpack Program and sent directly to them at 3051 Industrial 25th Street, Ft Pierce, FL 34946-8635. Local residents may also drop their check off at Holy Cross Parish office at 500 Iris Lane, Vero Beach 32963.