Last updated: March 05. 2014 3:09PM - 1259 Views
Sarah Hawley shawley@civitasmedia.com

Juli Simpson, left, program director for the Child and Family Health Services program at the Meigs County Health Department, presents a donation to Sara Will, guidance counselor at Eastern Elementary/Middle School.
Juli Simpson, left, program director for the Child and Family Health Services program at the Meigs County Health Department, presents a donation to Sara Will, guidance counselor at Eastern Elementary/Middle School.
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TUPPERS PLAINS — Two large donations received this week by the Eagle Pack program will help to feed students in the Eastern Local School District.

One donation of more than 1,250 items came form the Child and Family Health Services program with the Meigs County Health Department.

Program Director Juli Simpson made the presentation of items earlier this week to Eastern guidance counselor Sara Will. Items donated included cereal bars, peanut butter, juice boxes and fruit cups.

“One of the goals of the CFHS program is Meigs County, which is funded through the Ohio Department of Health, is to help increase access to healthy food choices,” Simpson said. “I happened to read a news article earlier this school year about the Eagle Pack program starting up and needing help, so it was a perfect fit.”

Simpson added that nutritional flyers will be put in each of the packs to be sent home with children. Will and Simpson are also working to create menus to be sent home in the packs to assist children with making sure the food provided to them can last the entire weekend.

The CFHS program also helps to support activities in the Meigs and Southern school districts.

A second large donation came as the result of the work of local 4-H clubs. The Forever 4-H club and 4-H for Fun club organized a donation drive in conjunction with this past weekend’s 4-H Kickoff event.

More than 1,000 items were donated to the Eagle Pack program as a result of the drive. Items included snack crackers, peanut butter, jello, fruit, applesauce and pudding cups, microwavable meals, cereal bars, juice and snack items.

Since the Eagle Pack Program runs solely on donations from the community and community-based organizations, donations like the 4-H groups provided ensure that the program continues. The program sends home healthy food packs once a month with students who have limited food available to them on the weekend.

“We are so thankful to the Forever 4H and the 4H for Fun Groups. The kids in those groups worked so hard to gather items that would help out their peers. It is wonderful to see these students making such a difference in their community,” Will.

The coordinators of the program are looking for specific items to keep the packs consistent. These items include a jar of peanut butter, microwavable dinners (spaghetti, ravioli, etc.), individual microwavable macaroni and cheese, breakfast bars, juice boxes, fruit cups, pudding cups, crackers, and healthy snacks.

“Occasionally we have students who have a special situation. Something has suddenly changed, and their family could benefit from some extra help. In that case we would make an emergency pack if we have items available. It may not have the exact same items in it that the monthly Eagle Packs have in them, but they have things that will help the families get through the difficult time. We include the extra items that are donated in those emergency packs,” said Will said.

To date, two sets of Eagle Packs have been sent home with students, with a third to go out later this month.

“We are sending out our third round of packs at the end of March,” said Will. “Each month the number of students participating is growing. We are receiving positive feedback from teachers, parents, and students. When similar programs have been implemented in schools around the nation, they have seen tremendous results with improvements in academics, school attendance, behavior, and overall health. Students who are hungry simply cannot learn as well as a well-nourished child.”

Anyone wishing to donate or who would like more information can contact the Eagle Pack Program at (740) 985-3304 or by email at eaglepackprogram@easternlocal.net.

Donations can also be mailed to Eastern Elementary, Attn: Eagle Pack Program, 38850 State Route 7, Reedsville, OH 45772. If sending a check, note in the memo space “Eagle Pack Program.”

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