In 2003 during prayer the Lord told me that I would be working with women and children in the Appalachian Mountains. Three years later in February, 2006 God led me to the Tri-Cities of Cumberland, Benham and Lynch, Kentucky in the Appalachian Mountains. These were once thriving coal mining towns. Now, over forty years after the mining companies moved out, I found a bleak, poverty stricken area. The illiteracy rate is 49% among adults and most of the students qualify for the school lunch program. Many people in this area live below the poverty level and some do not even have electricity or running water.
During my mission trip, God directed me to the Cumberland Elementary School Resource Coordinator, Margaret Farmer and I was shocked to learn that she had a list of sixty eight (68) students who had little or no food to eat from lunch on Friday at school until they returned to school for breakfast on Monday. At one time there had been a program where a few backpacks were provided and filled with food by the teachers each Friday for the children to carry home to eat over the weekend. Unfortunately, that program only lasted a couple of months and they could no longer feed these children.
God put it on our hearts to take this idea and start bringing food in each month to feed the children. The very first month God provided 75 backpacks and about 2,000 pounds of food. And every month for the last two and a half years God has provided enough food and backpacks to feed His children. Last year because of God’s direction we were also able to start this program in Eolia, Kentucky which is in neighboring Letcher County, in an even more remote area of the Appalachians.
During the spring of 2009 by God’s direction, we implemented a program called “Adopt a Month” where churches and schools could adopt a month during the school year to provide the food to feed the children. It was so successful that Cumberland Elementary, the first school where we started, is now able to contact the churches directly for the food and backpacks they need.
God has opened doors for us to go into even more schools and reach every hungry child He shows us. This school year BACKPACK MISSION MINISTRIES will be providing food and backpacks to needy children in the entire school systems of two counties in the mountains of Tennessee and two schools in Letcher County, Kentucky. We are starting the school year this August providing backpacks and food to over 200 students. The Resource Coordinators in these counties have set strict criteria to make sure they are only giving food out to those who are in need in order that there be enough food to reach every hungry child.
Our target children are the ones who are in need and who actually are hungry. God has called us all to be good stewards with whatever He has entrusted us. We at BACKPACK MISSION MINISTRIES take this responsibility very seriously. If we are good stewards we will have more than enough to feed every hungry child that God directs us to. Our desire is to eliminate waste in order to make sure we are not missing children who are waiting for the food. It is our mission to feed the hungry children and to be pleasing in HIS sight because of our stewardship of what HE supplies.