Program packs snacks for kids

By Morgan McKinniss -

GALLIPOLIS — The Gallia County Snack Pack Program is set into motion for the 2017-18 school year.

Volunteers have already packed and distributed the first months round of food to students in Gallia County, primarily to elementary schools.

They program is now in its 10th year of providing food for students who may not have enough to eat over the weekend at the end of the month as funds begin to run low, as is common in an economically stressed area.

“It’s a program that’s designed to assist kids in our area with a small bag of food once a month,” said Nancy Smith, a volunteer with the program. “We know that toward the end of the month money runs out and kids get hungry.”

Each bag contains single serving items, except for a jar of peanut butter. The bag includes entree items and snacks that require little to no preparation, safe enough that an elementary student is capable to feed themselves.

“What we hope is that the contents of that bag will get them through the weekend because we do put enough in there,” stated Carol Norris, a volunteer with the program. She explained that there is enough in each bag that a child could even share if necessary to help another out. The food bags require nothing in addition to what is there to be able to make it and utilize it.

Each month several hundred bags of food go out to the schools. Elementary students are the primary focus, although some students in middle and high school also receive help if needed. The local program is patterned after a national program, according to Smith. Last year the program was giving out over 750 bags a month, which greatly increases costs for the committee.

“We’re trying to continue to grow and let people know that we are there,” said Smith.

Many organizations and churches support the committee, although the group is autonomous and separate from other organizations. Holzer donates storage space for the committee to stock food, multiple banks and businesses in Gallia County donate financially and hold peanut butter drives.

Grace United Methodist Church (600 Second Avenue, Gallipolis) is a drop off point for donations; both food and money. If anyone would like to contribute to the Snack Pack Program, contact Grace Church at 740-446-0555 or Nancy Smith at 740-446-3939. They can also be reached by mail at Gallia County Snack Pack Organization, P.O. Box 169, Gallipolis Ohio 45631.

The program operates with zero overhead, working entirely with volunteers and donations. Food is stored at a Holzer facility, the bags are packed by volunteers, and it is all coordinated and directed by a board that does not collect a paycheck. Every dollar given goes to feeding children in Gallia County.

By Morgan McKinniss

Reach Morgan McKinniss at 740-446-2342 ext 2108 or

Reach Morgan McKinniss at 740-446-2342 ext 2108 or