By Linda Pederson of Grace Lutheran in Albert Lea
(Albert Lea) — Thank you to the Hunger Team of the Southeastern Minnesota Synod of the ELCA for the generous [2021 Food Ministry Grant] given to Food for Backpacks in Albert Lea, MN. Please know that 100% of this gift was used to purchase individual food packets, which will provide nutritious weekend meals for food-insecure students in District 241. The schools, our partners in this program, confidentially place this critical food in the children's backpacks each week. We currently serve 492 elementary, middle school, and Alternative Learning Center students.
Jesus, in a directive to Peter, told us to feed the lambs! Food for Backpacks has inspired a band of faithful volunteers from local churches, businesses, and the community at large to serve this vital endeavor. Our volunteers are united with a common purpose of feeding God's hungry children.
One such elementary student knew he would be absent on a day that food packets were going to be distributed. He sought out a trusted teacher and explained his predicament. It turns out this child's main concern was for his younger brother and sister with whom he shared his food.
A member of Ascension Lutheran Church in Albert Lea states that her congregation has rallied behind Food for Backpacks in a big way! The reason, she says, is because it is essential for our neighbors' children.
We, as volunteers, do not know who receives this food. However, we know that with the help of the synod's Hunger Team, the volunteerism of many community members, and the support and cooperation of School District 241 staff, we help feed the lambs!
Food for Backpacks volunteers