By JoAnn Laird
Special to The PREVIEW
The Gary Morris concert on April 20 at 7 p.m. in the Pagosa Springs High School auditorium will not only benefit those hankerin’ for live, outstanding country music, but will also benefit the Pagosa Rotary Feed the Children Backpack Program.
Pagosa Springs is not a community that readily accepts the notion that any of our children should experience hunger. However, like many rural western towns, there is a high level of poverty and wages that do not match the cost of living.
In an effort to help alleviate the family food crisis, the Pagosa Springs Rotary Club and the Mountain Rotary Club have partnered to create the Rotary clubs’ Feed Our Children Backpack Program. Now in its eighth year, this program provides food for weekends to assist families who are struggling.
Currently, a majority of our elementary children qualify for the free or reduced lunch program. While this program provides essential support for children during the weekdays, the need continues through weekends. The Feed Our Children program provides nutritious food for children every weekend during the school year. On Fridays, after Rotarians meet to fill all the backpacks, they deliver them to the school for participating third- and fourth-graders to collect.
Filled with food for use over the weekend, this not only supplements this child, but all the children in their household. The goal is to have happy, alert and focused children returning to classrooms on Mondays, ready to learn. The intention is to supplement the wonderful work of the various church food banks by providing additional food, targeted to children’s tastes, with very little preparation needed. Approximately 85 children from 26 families, enrolled in the public and charter schools, are benefited every weekend throughout the school year.
The community has been incredibly generous in supporting this effort. Churches, businesses, the Salvation Army and many individuals throughout the community have made this project a reality by providing checks, gifts or donating appropriate food. The library hosts a collection box near its entrance with a list of foods needed for the program.
Morris is committed to the continued success of this program and is giving back to his community by donating his time and talent. Join him for a special evening and you can also help this much needed program in our community.
Tickets are available at the Chamber of Commerce and The Choke Cherry Tree for $45 or $50 at the door.
By JoAnn Laird