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Blessings in Backpacks at Mayport, Jacksonville Beach and Seabreeze Elementary

Students at Mayport, Jacksonville Beach and Seabreeze elementary schools have been receiving blessings all year thanks to the contributions of Blessings in a Backpack – a program that provides students who receive free and reduced lunch with food to take home on the weekends – and the Mayport students received an extra blessing on April 26 when rockers The Goo Goo Dolls visited their school.

Students were on their feet cheering when The Goo Goo Dolls members John Rzeznik and Robby Takac joined them in the auditorium to talk about the importance of education and the Blessings in a Backpack program.

Rzeznik said he is humbled to be a part of Blessings in a Backpack, and got emotional as he discussed the program because he realizes how meaningful it is to children and their families, as well as their teachers.

“I know it must break every teacher’s heart to see their kids hungry when they come to school and know they might not eat anything over the weekend, and I know it breaks parents’ hearts when they want to say yes but can only say no. The Blessings in a Backback program helps these students so much and it means the world to them.”

After being entertained by the students’ rendition of their hit song, Give a Little Bit, Rzeznik and Takac helped stuff backpacks with the school volunteers, school staff and their School Board Member Vicki Drake.

These committed volunteers, many of them local senior citizens, visit the elementary schools each week to fill backpacks with ready-to-eat food items such as fruit roll ups, juice boxes, instant noodles, peanut butter, macaroni & cheese, cereal and more. This is to ensure the students don’t go hungry over the weekend.

Mayport Principal Yvonne Ferguson and teacher Pamela Rosenberger expressed their gratitude to organizers of Blessings in a Backpack and The Goo Goo Dolls for their commitment to their students.

“This is truly a blessing to our kids,” said Rosenberger. “When these children receive food, not only does it provide them with meals, but often their families as well. It is a way for these students to contribute food to their family.”

Blessings in a Backpack Founder Stan Curtis has a passion for helping and feeding the less fortunate, and knows food is an essential building block, and in this case a blessing, to a hungry child. Students who participate in the Blessings in a Backpack program show marked improvement in school attendance, test scores, behavior, and health.

For the past 10 years, Curtis has been working with The Goo Goo Dolls to promote the program, and through their efforts, as well as generous contributions from business and community members, more than 9 million pounds of food have been given to hungry children. A contribution of $80 provides a child with food for the entire school year child. For more information, visit www.blessingsinabackpack.org.

Source: http://www.duvalschools.org/static/contact/communications/spotlight/2010/0427.asp
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