BackPack Buddies program receives $29,950 grant

By NATHAN HOWELL | Staff Writer

PELHAM — The Shelby County Community Health Foundation recently gifted Vineyard Family Services with a grant for $29,950 to help boost their BackPack Buddies program.

The program helps to provide food over the weekend to school children within the Alabaster City Schools, Pelham City Schools and Shelby County Schools systems. They also provide services like parenting programs, mentoring, co-parenting plans and assistance to families dealing with the juvenile and family court systems.

According to VFS Community Engagement Director Stephanie Grissom the grant will go toward providing bags of food to more than 1,000 public school children each week.

“Shelby County Community Health Foundation has been invaluable to the growth of the BackPack Buddies Program. Our aim is to strengthen the health of every child we possibly can, and SCCHF provides the support to meet this goal. We are beyond grateful and feel it has been an excellent partnership”, Grissom said.

This grant came about through conversations with the SCCHF to further their mission of ensuing that children in the county have access to healthy meals.

“One of the health focuses of the SCCHF is health related programs for children and so their support aligns beautifully with our BackPack Buddies Program, since it is specifically targeting children aged 4-18 that are food insecure within the county,” Grissom said. “We are very grateful for their commitment in helping us combat undernutrition within the three public school systems we service.”

This is not the first example of the SCCHF helping to fund the program. According to Grissom, they have had a partnership for the past five years to help boost this program.

“SCCHF has provided funding to Vineyard Family Services for the past five years and because of this support BackPack Buddies has grown exponentially,” she explained. “Committed partners allow you to grow and so along with our sponsors, we now serve 38 sites with over 1,000 students being fed throughout every school year. We could not do this program without them.”

VFS operates with a focus on “promoting responsible fatherhood, feeding children in need and helping families in crisis,” according to Grissom.

Those interested in getting more information can contact Grissom at 205-317-9897 or visit Vfsdads.com.