Escambia Backpack Project Feeds Hundreds of Students

FILE - In this Aug. 15, 2015 file photo, students hold hands as they walk with their new book bags in Miami. They received the free bags as part of an annual back to school event also offering free health screenings, and free food distribution. With new backpacks, pens and pencils and clothes, millions of children are heading back to school after summer vacation. Many are excited, some anxious, and millions are still waiting for the results of the new tests they took last spring aligned to the Common Core academic standards. (AP Photo/Lynne Sladky, File)

Sonny’s Real Pit BBQ isn’t just feeding their customers every day; they want to help make sure hungry children in Escambia county get a good meal, too.

“Just to let y’all know, sonny’s is working with Backpack Project USA this year, we’re helping feed kids in our community who wouldn’t have food on the weekends,” says one server to a customer.

Backpack project USA was started nearly five years ago by the Escambia County Schools maintenance department.

“Us in the maintenance department, were in charge of lights, maintenance air conditioning, plumbing, water, those kind of things typically, you hear the food service people talk about ways to feed the kids, because the kids come in hungry,” says Escambia County School District Construction Supervisor Scott Stillman.

 Scott Stillman is the construction supervisor for the department, but he also spends time filling bags for the weekend to make sure students don’t go hungry.

 Last year, the organization helped over 300 students in Escambia County, but there are 400 more still on a waiting list, and that’s how Sonny’s got involved.

 “When we heard that kids were going home on Friday and not eating again until Monday, and honestly we couldn’t believe that really happened,” says Sonny’s Regional Marketing Manager Susan Brady.

The restaurant has found its customers are responding to the need generously, one family even donated $100.00 to the project.

Other customers say, helping out is the least they can do..

“I know the kids, that come through and have nothing, because there is no home life and no parents, and the come to school hungry, and if teachers can make a difference in their life and can feed them, they can sure study better,” says Sherry Key of Cantonment.

Backpack project USA, fighting hunger in Escambia County, one backpack full of food at a time.


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