About Buddy Backpacks for Harnett County
About Buddy Backpacks Program For Harnett County, Inc.
The program is designed to provide nutritious food to school children who have little or nothing to eat over the weekend. The program recognizes that study is not the primary concern of a hungry child.
The Umbrella Organization
Buddy Packpacks for Harnett County, Inc. was organized under the provisions Title 26 U.S.C Section 501 (c) (3) which allows contributors to take a tax deduction for charitable contributions. Robert “Bob” Edward Doberstein led the effort to form the organization and continues as its head. He is President, Polly Bouldin is Vice President, Melissa Wise is Treasurer and Gilliam P. Wise is Secretary.
Organized in 2008, there are now three Chapters of Buddy Backpacks For Harnett County: Angier, Dunn-Erwin, and Western Harnett. Each Chapter conducts its own fund raising. Each chapter has community volunteers who package and distribute the food items. There are no paid staff.
The students being served
As of 2015 in Harnett County there are a total of 18 schools in Harnett County attended by students in grades from Kindergarden to fifth grade. The Angier Area Chapter is serving four of these 18 schools: North Harnett Primary; Angier Elementary; Buies Creek Elementary and Lafayette Elementary. The Dunn-Erwin Chapter is serving two of these 18 schools: Wayne Avenue Elementary; and Harnett Primary. The Western Harnett Chapter is serving eight of these 18 schools: Anderson Creek Primary; South Harnett Elementary; Benhaven Elementary; Highland Elementary; Boone Trail Elementary; Johnsonville Elementary; Overhills Elementary; and Lillington-Shawtown Elementary. A total of two middle schools (grades 6-8) are being served by the Dunn-Erwin Chapter: Coats-Erwin Middle and Dunn Middle.
Parent and Teacher Involvement
Children are identified with input from teachers, teacher assistants, social workers, school nurses, and guidance counselors as candidates for the program. Once the identification process is completed letters are sent home to obtain permission from the parent/guardians for the child to participate and for the parent/guardians to list food related allergies. Backpacks are then issued to the student free of logos to maintain the dignity and anonymity of the participants.
Over 800 students have been identified and are currently being served. The goal is to continue identifying students who have a need for a nutritious meal and to raise the funds necessary to purchase these items or acquire them by gifts from food outlets and other donors.