WARREN - Volunteers at Christ Episcopal Church are making sure local third-graders have enough food for the weekend.
To do so, they have spent every Thursday evening since last September packaging food and snack items that are distributed to the children on Friday. Second Harvest Food Bank provides the food.
Tom Eastman, a volunteer, said the 150 backpacks are for third-graders at Horace Mann and Willard schools. The items put in the bags include beef stew, peanut butter, juice, milk, macaroni and beef, applesauce, cereal and granola bars.
"The students leave school on Friday with enough food for the weekend," Eastman said.
Each week, 35 volunteers spend about one hour filling the bags, and since Sept. 26, more than 15,000 pounds of food has been given to children.
"We are happy to be able to do this each week to help the children and their families," Eastman said.
Volunteer Helen Garrigus of Warren said the weekly gathering gives many of the retired members of the church something to do. "This is all about giving back to your community. It's such a good project," she said.
The national backpack program started in Tennessee after a nurse became aware that children coming to school on Monday were having a hard time paying attention and were falling asleep in class.