PILOT MOUNTAIN — East Surry High School’s Campus Pride group earned a total of $656.83 to support the nutritional backpack program in two Surry County schools. The effort was titled Cardinal Cause “For Change” and was part of the ongoing campus pride enrichment program at the school.
“We got together a variety of containers and during pride time students went to every classroom and asked for donations of loose change or dollar bills,” said co-chairperson of the project, Misty Bruner. “We even had a $50 contribution from a grandparent which I think is exceptional.” She said several organizations and groups had also donated to the effort.
Co-Chairman Amy Knopf said Shoals School Social Worker Jennifer Stone brought one of the bags of food given to needy students on Fridays so students could better grasp the lifeline being extended to others. Bruner said once the money was collected students participated in a variety of chores, including rolling coins.
“Everybody was doing their job,” said Bruner. “Our goal was $300 and we more than doubled that with $656 collected. All the money goes to the backpack program at Shoals and Pilot Mountain Elementary Schools. Westfield Elementary’s backpack program is already being helped from other sources.”
Knopf and Bruner said the students’ efforts met with good days and bad days.
“They were really excited about the program. Some days they got tons of money and some not,” said Bruner. “The important thing was to get them to make a personal sacrifice that day. We were trying to inspire someone to give up drink money for a day and give that to someone else. “
The backpack program provides nutritional meals and snacks to youth whose primary source of food is the school cafeteria. The goal of the program is to provide a backpack with food items to help sustain them until returning to school for a meal. The goal of the effort is an effective outreach program to enrich the nutritional, mental and physical needs of children and promote physical, cognitive and social development.
The backpacks used in the program are similar to the everyday backpacks used at school campuses and no symbols are used to signify participants. Backpacks are distributed to participating students on Friday afternoons just before going home.
Bruner said in the past, other campus pride groups collected coloring books and crayons to help sick children and nursing home patients.
“I think it’s good for kids to focus on something other than themselves,” said Burner. “This (people going hungry) is something a lot don’t see.” Knopf said her impression of the backpack buddies program, funded by nothing but donations, is just another example of the community stepping forward to help.
“Local churches help so much with this program,” said Knopf. “I was proud of how the students got involved. They’d get upset if no on would give. They were persistent.”
Bruner said one of the most important lessons she hopes the students learn is how to give back with some personal sacrifice.
Campus Pride is just one of the school’s programs providing more than 25 minutes daily during the school week for students to have pride time, where every students gets a designated activity area to go to. Activities include open gym, study hall, computer lab or perhaps helping around campus. Students rotate into another pride time group every six weeks.
Reach David Broyles at firstname.lastname@example.org or 719-1952.