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Backpack food program at Andersonville

August 17, 2011 - Many children don't get enough nutritious food, even in Clarkston. For students at Andersonville Elementary this fall, Blessings in a Backpack is there to help.

The national program is for students receiving free or reduced lunches during the week at school. They get backpack filled with food on Friday, enough for six meals that weekend. The program costs $100 per child.

"When I found out 20 percent of Clarkston Community Schools students were on free or reduced lunch, it touched me and I wanted to do something," said Rose Moshier, Blessings in a Backpack Committee chairman.

She read about the program in a magazine while sitting in a doctor's office waiting room. She learned 60 percent of children in the United States live below the poverty line, even a percentage in Clarkston.

For the past two years she worked to bring the program to Clarkston, working with Bruce Martin, Andersonville Elementary principal, and Dr. Rod Rock, superintendent.

"Hunger is a huge issue that affects learning," said Rock. "Although schools provide nutritious meals during the day, too many of our students do not have access to nutritious meals on weekends and evenings. Blessings in a Backpack will bridge this gap for some students."

The committee plans fund raisers in the next few months, with a goal of $24,000 to cover the first two years.

The first is Aug. 27 at JD's Key Club in Pontiac. Tickets are $10 each, four for $20. Doors open at 8 p.m. and dueling pianos begin at 9 p.m.

Activities include silent auction and raffle for a Comerica Park luxury suite. Received from an anonymous donor, the suite is reserved for the Detroit Tigers versus White Sox game, Sept. 3. It includes two parking passes and direct access to the suite, valued at $2,200.

The next event is 12-5 p.m., Sept. 24, at Boomers Roadhouse, 6650 Highland Road in Waterford. Tickets are $20, which includes lunch for adults.

"Kids are welcome," said Moshier. "We will have food for the kids."

Along with silent auction, a plasma TV will be raffled off during the event.

"We need to raise enough money to start this program," said Moshier. "There are currently 120 children enrolled in the free lunch program at Andersonville Elementary alone. Next year the hope is for other Clarkston schools to start this program."

Benefits of the program include better attendance, attention span, and classroom atmosphere, and fewer behavior issues, she said.

For donation information, visit blessingsinabackpackmi.org/donations.php, specify donations for Clarkston, or call 248-740-7600.

Donations are also accepted at NWCF, 1120 E. Long Lake, Ste 205, Troy, Mich. 48085, payable to NWCF Blessings-Clarkston.

Volunteers are also needed to help pick up food and pack backpacks. Contact Moshier at rose_marie1975@yahoo.com.

"Clarkston is an extremely generous and thoughtful community," said Rock. "This is one of the many things that makes Clarkston a special place. I know there are many worthy causes and excellent charities in the community. I hope people will gives as much they can to Blessings in a Backpack. When we all pitch in, we make a big difference."

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