Saturday, January 26, 2013

Backpacks and Beyond

Last year, I became aware of a small group of people in my hometown of Winfield, Alabama who were doing some very good things to help children in need.  Backpacks and Beyond was started by Genny Jenkins, Rose Carothers, and Lisa Porter.  The organization provides a small bag of food each Friday for children to take home with them, children who otherwise might not have enough to eat over the weekend.

I recently visited Winfield, and on my list of things to do was to meet Genny and learn more about this organization. Genny and her husband, Jerry, were loading a truck up with food at the Community Center when I caught up with them.

Gracious and more than willing to talk about the organization, Genny told me that a friend of hers had originally started a similar organization (Backyard Blessings) in a nearby town.  She contacted Genny, and said she thought there might be a need for such a thing in Winfield,  Genny remembers to this day that she said, "Surely, not."  Unfortunately, a bit of research determined that there were kids in the area who needed food.  Genny talked with school principals and passed out applications, which would be screened by school counselors.  Turns out, last year 75 children participated...and this year, they deliver to between 95 and 100 children each week.

The bags of food are modest, but identical, and are labeled with the name of the child and the school.  Backpacks and Beyond delivers to schools in Winfield, Brilliant, and Guin, Alabama.  Lisa Porter shops once a month, and then bags and labels the food for each child. The Winfield Community Center lets the group store their stockpiled food in a small pantry on their premises.
Many of us take the simple things for granted, and it's hard for me to think about hungry children.  If you'd like to send a check to help, Backpacks and Beyond has a facebook page, or you can reply to this post, and I will send you their contact information.  Just a small group of people, in a small southern town, looking to do some good for our children.  Thanks for reading.


  1. Wonderful blog about local people helping children in need. Love this story!

  2. Didn't realize this existed, the organization or the circumstances leading to the formation of Backpacks and Beyond. I need to get out and talk to them.