School looks to start backpack program

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PAXTON — School leaders are looking at starting a backpack program. A principal and counselor presented the idea to the school board last week. It’s not set in stone, but people are really excited about the potential. They say they’ve seen the need and now they want to help.

This program would be like others we’ve seen around Central Illinois. Students would be given food to take home on the weekends or over the summer. More than half the grade school kids qualify for free or reduced price lunches. People who live in the community say they think it’s a great idea. “We do have food pantries in town, but anytime you can increase access for the kids and get them some good nutrition and healthy food, that’s a good thing for the community,” said Andy Hudson, who is a parent.

Different agencies in the community are working to get it off the ground. Plus students at the high school have volunteered to help out. They say it’s just another way to help families in their district, which is something they definitely want to do. If the school board approves it, the backpack program could start as a pilot program in April.

District leaders say they’re also looking at the GCMS school system, which has a similar backpack program. People we talked with say they’re not surprised to see others in Paxton step up to help with something like this.

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