Campus Groups Aid with Backpack Program

Volunteers fill around 120 bags


Courtesy Photo

From back left: Kelsey Poku, senior; J’Sean Dupuy, senior; Rah’Quan Payne, junior; Zion Wade, senior; Julian Morgan, junior; Joshua Jordan, sophomore; Jalen Gray-Palemore, senior; Hasani Rivera, sophomore; Bryson Lempeckski, sophomore; Cai’re Gibson, freshman. (Front) Refentse Maselwa, sophomore; behind her are Gabby Hernandez-Escobar, freshman; Olivia Turner, sophomore; Kiana Somerville, junior.

Refentse Maselwa and Staff

In the spirit of “Not Self, But Others”, members of Ferrum College’s Black Student Union, Brother4Brother, and OXE fraternity recently gathered to assist with packing food for students at Ferrum Elementary School.

The Panther Packs backpack program offers families free groceries during weekends and school breaks. These backpacks include healthy, easy-to-prepare food for kid-friendly meals. Financial support for the program comes from Ferrum College Empty Bowls and local churches.

Ferrum Elementary School is a Title I school, so many of its families are in need of the assistance.

Martha Puckett, of Tri-Area Community Health, coordinates the Panther Packs program. Her efforts to provide the backpacks filled with food are dependent upon volunteers who assist with stuffing the bags.

Ferrum students answered the call and stuffed approximately 120 bags, which will provide food for two weeks.

Puckett shared that support from Ferrum students has been key to maintaining the backpack program.

“It was an opportunity that I was grateful to be a part of, especially being able to give back in the community and helping kids who most likely struggle every day to find a decent meal,” Zion Wade, senior, shared.

The time together did not only benefit the students of Ferrum Elementary and their families, but it also brought warmth and a sense of bonding between the students. Laughter and jokes were shared as each student worked at a station.

Helping others, volunteers said, is the Ferrum spirit at work in our students.