ANGULA'S STORY: A mother of 3, Angula works at a nursing home in Mankato. She completed her LPN training and was prepared to take the board exams. The week she was scheduled to take the exams, her husband beat her so badly she was hospitalized for a week and missed the test. After getting out of the hospital she was forced to find a new, safe place to live with her kids. Now, Angula must find a way to make ends meet before she can take her boards and get back on her feet. When a teacher at school noticed some of the struggles Angula was having, she recommended the BackPack Food Program to her. Angula says that this program has been so wonderful for her and her children and it has allowed her to stretch her dollars a little further. She no longer has to worry about what her children are eating or if they even get a meal on the weekends while she is at work.

Before we launched the BackPack Food Program, we talked to teachers in Mankato Public Schools about students and hunger. We heard many heartbreaking stories of poverty and hunger and their effects on the classroom. The one that drove us to get the program up and running as quickly as possible was the story of a young boy who was having trouble concentrating and keeping his hands to himself after a long weekend. The teacher sent him to the nurse to make sure he wasn't ill. When he returned, he was still having trouble so she took him aside. She inquired about his weekend and family life. Was something bothering him? The student beat around the bush at first, then he told her that it hadn't been his turn to eat that weekend.

It is hard to believe this is happening right here in our community, but we can do something about it.

The BackPack Food Program provides children from low-income families with food to eat on the weekend so they can return to school on Monday ready to learn. The food packs are discreetly sent home with students and include breakfast, lunch, and a snack for each day school is not in session.

The BackPack Food Program began in March 2010, with 41 students at one elementary school. Now the program serves 511 students at four Mankato public elementary schools and we hope to expand this fall. So, your donation is needed now more than ever.

Every contribution made will help our program purchase nutritious, child-friendly food items that will keep children from being hungry on weekends and during school breaks.

Help us continue the BackPack Food Program and expand it to more schools. Your support of this local program is greatly appreciated.

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