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Era readers support Blessings in a Backpack

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Tony Cotten, publisher of The Oldham Era, recently presented a $670 donation from the newspaper and its subscribers to Blessings in a Backpack CFO Kevin Beam.

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The Oldham Era hosted a subscription drive this fall with the promise that $10 from every full-price subscription would benefit Blessings in a Backpack, an organization designed to ensure students don't go hungry on weekends.

Every Friday, kids in schools that participate in the Blessings in a Backpack program get a backpacks filled with easy-to-prepare and ready-to-eat food. On Monday, the kids return the backpacks, ready to learn. Then the cycle begins the next Friday.

The backpacks include ready-to-eat food items such as granola bars, peanut butter, tuna, crackers, mac & cheese, cereal, juice boxes, etc. Blessings in a Backpack reviews its standard menu with a nutritionist annually to make sure the food is kid-friendly, nutritious, non-perishable and easy-to-prepare.

Many of the students who benefit from Blessings in a Backpack qualify for free breakfast and lunch at school. But that only covers weekdays.

Students who participate in the Blessings in a Backpack program show marked improvement in school attendance, test scores, behavior and health.

From left, the Rev. Owen Dolin, Covenant United Methodist Church, Beth Hamby, Blessings in a Backpack coordinator for Camden and Locust Grove Elementary Schools, Bonnie Brown, coordinator for Centerfield Elementary School and Mt. Tabor United Methodist Church, Tony Cotten, Kevin Beam, Victoria Motyka, coordinator for Covenant United Methodist Church and Joy Abel and Pauline Moore, coordinators for Liberty Elementary School and Shiloh United Methodist Church.