UM becomes buddies with MES

A small hand reaches into a bag and out comes a can of ravioli, a container of apple sauce, a juice box and a pudding cup. That will be a meal for the youngster for this particular Saturday.

Thanks to the Backpack Buddy Club, sponsored by the department of family and consumer sciences at the University of Montevallo, some 30 children selected by Montevallo Elementary School have been receiving food and beverages over the weekends this semester.

In a message to members of the UM community, Dr. Donna O. Burnett, assistant professor and dietetics program director in the department of family and consumer sciences, said, “Your donations of time, food, gift cards and financial resources allowed us to reach the goals of the project, and we are pleased to tell you we have collected the total amount of food necessary to complete the project through the end of the Shelby County school year.”

Among items collected were 564 cans of ravioli or other entrée, 697 containers of apple sauce, 715 juice boxes, 970 packages of peanut butter and crackers, 1,014 packages of grits and oatmeal, and the list goes on. The total amount of items collected was 5,951.

“A special thanks goes to the students, faculty, staff, administration and UM Board of Trustees across the UM campus and community who assisted with this project. The awesome contribution by the Greek organizations on campus is greatly appreciated,” Burnett said.

The Panhellenic Council organized a campaign that accounted for 35 percent of the total items collected for the Backpack Buddy project.

A generous financial contribution by Alpha Kappa Alpha and Delta Sigma Theta will go toward program sustainability.

“All items donated that were too difficult to send home in BBC bags were added to the inventory at the local emergency agency, so no donation went unused by someone in need,” Burnett said. “As we finish out this academic year, we are evaluating the BBC project and entering into departmental discussions with Montevallo Elementary School about the 2010-2011 school year.”