A Danville woman who saw a problem with children going hungry on weekends – and did something about it – is has been chosen the Danville AMBUCS First Citizen of 2019. Rose Gates is a retired healthcare worker. While working as a parish nurse at Trinity Lutheran Church in Danville she felt there was a need to feed hungry children.
Gates and some other volunteers started just feeding children around the neighborhood. As concerns grew that other children needed food when out of school on weekends…the Feed the Children Backpack program was born.
Now in its 10th year, the Backpack Program has grown to serve close to 500 children…providing them with backpacks filled with nutritious, ready-to-eat food to take home every weekend.
Teachers, social workers, and food service personnel identify the children who are at risk of hunger, and volunteers meet every Friday morning to assemble the backpacks. They are delivered to 10 Danville schools.
Gates says a balanced diet is important for a growing mind. And she adds happier, healthier students can achieve higher grades.