DECATUR, Ill. (WCIA) — One local organization in Decatur is providing students with bags to help deal with food insecurity.
Big Blue Backpack at Millikin University has been around since September 2016. Co-chair Aly Barnes found love for the organization when a member of the swim team needed help packing bags for students.
“I love getting involved in the community, especially since I’m an out of state student,” Barnes said. “So I’m kind of engraving myself into the Decatur community, which I love.”
Big Blue Backpack is designed to help kids who are dealing with food insecurity at Decatur public schools.
“Right now there’s only three of us,” fellow co-chair Kendall Rossignol said. “So it’s me, Aly and Kendra Culler, who’s not here. But we’re wanting to recruit more people.”
They deliver about 100 meals each week.
“It’s about ten meals, ten things. So it’s like a couple of breakfast items, a couple lunch items, a couple of dinner items, and a couple of snacks,” Rossignol said.
Each meal includes granola bars, noodles and fruit cups. Although they’ve seen a lot of success, there are some things they would like to see added.
“I would love for us to have the means to be able to have an individual lunchbox for each student, so that we can provide fresh produce and refrigerated items,” Barnes said.
Barnes said to get to that point, they would need more donations.
“I’d like a big refrigerator truck that, you know, went out to the schools each week and brought it,” she said. “That would be amazing. But I’m not sure how we would get there.”
Big Blue Backpack gives food to Dennis Lab School and American Dreamer STEM Academy. This year, they added another school Michael E. Baum Elementary. Now they get to deliver to three schools every week.