Bluefield University’s third core education class, Civic & Global Response, encourages students to find a role in serving their community. On Jan. 15, four Bluefield students joined with their professor and did just that.
Students Nicky Dronsick, Melissa Denson, Jordyn O’ Saben, Gabrielle Reed, and professor Dr. Cindy Bascom volunteered at Trinity United Methodist Church in Bluefield, W. Va., packing food for Blessings in a Backpack.
The organization of Blessings in a Backpack has fed over 87,300 children in 1,092 schools in 45 states.
“Most children look forward to the weekend, but children in food-insecure homes are another story. At risk children can get free meals at school during the week, but what happens to them on the weekends? Hunger is a real problem in our community. The lack of food can affect children’s physical, emotional, and educational development. It’s hard to concentrate on learning when your stomach is growling,” said Bascom.
“Blessings in a Backpack was mind-blowing because I did not realize how many children, we would be helping that night,” said Reed.
“When my students and I walked into the church basement to help pack food, we were astonished! There were at least 50 volunteers passionately packing up food that was piled two to three feet high on row after row of tables. It looked chaotic, but we quickly realized it was a highly organized assembly. I’m so thankful my students and I had the chance to help. It does a heart good to volunteer, play a part in a community effort, and have some fun,” said Bascom.
Dronsick, Denson, O’ Saben, Reed, and Bascom packed 700 bags of food, contributing to the overall group’s 2,800 bags in under two hours.
“I’ve done volunteer work similar to Blessings in a Backpack, but I’ve never been to one like Trinity UMC. The experience was incredible. Everyone was so involved when pulling together these bags for all the children,” said O’Saben.
“I’ve been super lucky to have plenty of good meals growing up and seeing how many children would benefit from Blessings in a Backpack made me realize how many kids aren’t as fortunate as me. I wouldn’t have given up this opportunity to volunteer and would do it again in a heartbeat if it means giving a child a meal that they need. I think every kid, teen, or adult should have this experience just once to see how different these kids have grown up.”
If you would like to get involved with Blessings in a Backpack at Trinity United Methodist in Bluefield, W.Va., contact Betsey Shaw via email [email protected].