Quay County Sun - Serving the High Plains

Local charity gets donation


August 26, 2014

QCS Staff

A Quay County charity dedicated to ensuring that school children have adequate supplies of nutritious food even on weekends has received a $20,000 shot in the arm from Walmart.

Quay County’s Blessings in a Backpack program, the state’s only chapter of a national organization dedicated to childhood nutrition, got the state’s allocation from Walmart, according to Jared Langenegger, who has spearheaded the Quay County effort.

The idea of Blessings in a Backpack, Langenegger told the Tucumcari City Commission Thursday, is to send food supplies home with children on Thursdays, the last day of a Quay County school week, that ensure nutritious food will be available to them over the weekend.

School breakfast and lunch programs ensure adequate nutrition during the school week, he said, but on weekends, many children may find there is a lack of proper nutrition.

Langenegger cited statistics from Feeding America, a national group whose mission is to work with a network of food banks to help end hunger, that show 26 percent of children in Quay County live in “food insecure” households. What that means, he said, is that the U.S. Department of Agriculture has determined that there is a “lack of access, at times, to enough food for an active, healthy life for all household members and limited or uncertain availability of nutritionally adequate foods.”

The $20,000 that the program has received from Walmart will be added to $6,000 collected from Quay County area businesses and individuals, Langenegger said.

“We should be able to help 250 to 260 students throughout the year,” with that level of funding, he said.

No distributions have been made so far, he said, but school officials are working now to locate students who could benefit from the program, he said.

Langenegger said that lack of nutrition contributes to difficulties in learning among students, as well as weaker immunities and higher illness rates among children.

He also invited the commissioners and other community members to attend a backpack-filling event that will be held from 7 p.m. to 8 p.m. Sept. 17 at the Knights of Columbus Hall, 208 E. Main St., Tucumcari.


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