Food on Foot gives out 1,500 backpacks to area students

Posted on Tuesday, August 5, 2014 at 11:57 am

A volunteer with Food on Foot helps fit a backpack on a young girl during the non-profit’s annual Backpack Giveaway in Morristown on Saturday.

A volunteer with Food on Foot helps fit a backpack on a young girl during the non-profit’s annual Backpack Giveaway in Morristown on Saturday.

With a new school year beginning later this week for most students in the Lakeway Area, one entity was busy this weekend making sure those students had everything they need to head back to class.

Tennessee Food on Foot, a non-profit children’s ministry that aims to keep kids fed, handed out more than 1,500 backpacks filled with school supplies over the weekend.

On Friday morning the non-profit set up at the Bean Station town hall to pass out more than 500 backpacks to students in Grainger County who go back to school on Tuesday.

A large crowd formed a line that flowed into Main Street as Bean Station Mayor Terry Wolfe thanked Food on Foot founders Bob and Carolyn Jarnigan for helping his community and looking out for the children.

Bean Station Chief of Police Bryce Justice said with a new school year approaching, nothing is more important than prayer. He asked the parents and guardians in line to pray over the children with him before they entered into the town hall.

One by one, some eager and some not so much, students entered the town hall to find the room filled with tables of backpacks and volunteers.

Students got to pick their own backpacks, which were divided by grade level and gender.

School supplies including notebook paper, pencils, erasers, crayons, markers, rulers, composition books, binders and more filled each backpack.

Also inside the backpack were snacks for the children.

On Saturday, the non-profit gave out more than 1,000 backpacks at its warehouse in Morristown.

Saturday’s giveaway, which began at 11:30 a.m., had families holding a spot in line as early as 6 a.m.

Carolyn Jarnigan said she was just happy and appreciative of the community for allowing the non-profit to be able to help.

“This is the seventh year we’ve had the backpack giveaway and we see more and more people each year. The kids look forward to it and the parents are so grateful for the help. None of this could ever be possible without the tremendous support we get from people in the community to do this. All the supplies and backpacks were because of donations and we could never do what we do on our own,” Jarnigan said.

Jarnagin said the buck doesn’t stop after the giveaway. The non-profit also gives school supply re-fills once a month throughout the year to make sure students have what they need to succeed.

Rachel Shultz, a parent of a Bean Station student, said she is very thankful for the Food on Foot organization because they help lessen the expense of going back to school and also put the needs of children first.

By Chris Phipps, Tribune Staff Writer

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