BackPacks help

Schoolteachers know that students who are hungry don't do as well on their studies as they are capable of doing. Many students who take advantage of free breakfast and lunch programs at school don't eat nutritious meals over the weekends. A program to help is already in place in some Cape Girardeau schools, and next month the BackPacks for Friday program will be expanded to Orchard Elementary School in Jackson.

The aim of BackPacks for Friday is to send home with students backpacks filled with enough food for nutritious meals for four for the entire weekend.

Janey Foust, a Jackson businesswoman, has raised $8,000 to start the program at Orchard Elementary. The program is sponsored by the Southeast Missouri Food Bank, which estimates the total cost at Orchard this year will be $9,800. Food drives and donations are expected to make up the difference as Foust continues her fundraising efforts.

The BackPacks program got a boost recently from students at Immaculate Conception School in Jackson who donated 450 cans of food during a special drive. HealthPoint Fitness also is sponsoring a food drive through the end of September for the BackPacks program.

Thanks to everyone involved in this community effort.