Standing in the bright basement of the Canton Calvary Mission, a member agency of the Akron-Canton Regional Foodbank, is Crystal and her eight-year-old son Austin. Every Friday, the Mission hosts an after school backpack program for more than 100 children in the area.
Simply, a backpack program helps children get the nutritious and easy-to-prepare food they need to make sure they have enough to eat on the weekends, when they don’t receive free or reduced priced lunches at school.
Austin goes down the line of food with his mom to fill his backpack. His backpack contains non-perishable food items like canned goods and fruit snacks, kid-friendly items that he will take home and can enjoy all weekend. But the Mission also gives the children a chance to choose their own perishable items, and he carefully picks several of his favorite including breads and fresh apples.
Crystal’s husband is a landscaper, but suffers from Degenerative Disc Disease. He’s been out of work while awaiting his surgery. While Crystal works cleaning houses, sometimes she has to choose which bills to pay during the month.
Before leaving, Crystal takes the hand of a volunteer and says, “Can you please tell whoever donated this food how much my family appreciates them? They didn’t have to donate, but they did, out of the kindness in their hearts.”