Hey Sisters! Last month we launched our inaugural World Changer Quest in which we set out on a hunt for sisters you know who are acting as world changers right where they are. We asked for your nominations, and you did not disappoint! Thank you for not keeping these sisters to yourselves but sharing with us the names of those women you’ve watched take that next step, who’ve done that hard thing in order to be a world changer for good.
We call it our great privilege to today introduce to you one of these World Changers, Sheri Bullock, who oversees the Coeur d’Alene Backpack Program. Here she is to tell you why feeding hungry kids doesn’t have to be complicated.
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The CDA Backpack Program was established to address the ongoing issue of childhood hunger in the Coeur d’Alene School District. The journey began in November 2010 at Lakes Magnet Middle School with 16 hungry kiddos and little access to funding. By the end of the school year, word of our mission was spreading. We quickly began adding new students and expanding the program to other schools in the district. Since inception, we have continued to increase the number of program students each and every year—the generosity and support from my community has been abundant.
Today, we serve over 400 children throughout 13 elementary and middle schools in the Coeur d’Alene School District. Just this fall, we have been blessed to engage in a partnership with the neighboring Plummer-Worley School District, located on the Coeur d’Alene Tribe Reservation, to serve students in their elementary, middle and high school.
Each Friday, program students go home with food packs filled with child-friendly, nutritious food for the upcoming weekend or holiday vacation. With close to 50% of all Coeur d’Alene students living in poverty, the need is great. The need is real.World Changer Sheri Bullock on why feeding hungry kids doesn't have to be complicated. #powertothesisterhood Click To Tweet
The CDA Backpack Program has made me acutely aware of childhood poverty, hunger and homelessness. It has also shown me how much compassion exists in this crazy world we live in, especially when we’re doing God’s work. Over the past several years, teachers, counselors and principals have shared stories, comments, and observations about the program and the students we serve. Here’s just one of those stories that motivates me to keep feeding our hungry children.
“When the 3:00 p.m. beep over the intercom is heard throughout the building on Friday afternoons at Borah Elementary School, teachers excuse selected children to head to the office. The children know they are not in trouble and they are not being picked up early from school. Rather, it’s that their weekend meals have been delivered and are waiting for pick up. Some enjoy the 2-minute break from class, others speed walk to be the first in line. Waiting for their turn, they are greeted with a smile and a bag from an adult. In return, they give a smile and a thank you. Those who hand out bags know just how much the children appreciate the food and their bright, beautiful smiles are proof of that.”
A few years ago, I attended an event for the Union Gospel Mission where the keynote speaker was the President of Whitworth University, Dr. Beck Taylor. He spoke of the poverty he faced in his early childhood after his father abandoned the family, leaving them with nothing. Without a doubt, Dr. Taylor would have been a backpack kid. He recalled the impact of a man named Father Fred, who fed him and his family in the kitchen of his church. Father Fred died unaware of his influence, yet his legacy lives on through Dr. Taylor’s words, actions, and successes.
Since then, I often reflect on the opportunities we have to impact the children living in our own communities — to be their Father Fred. I may never know the long term benefit the CDA Backpack Program has on the children we feed, and that is okay. My hope is that we’ll be able to serve hungry children as long as there are hungry children to serve. One day, a backpack student may even choose to do the same.
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Sheri Bullock is the Founder and Director of the CDA Backpack Program. She lives in North Idaho with her husband, 3 children and 2 dogs. While she may only have the responsibility to feed her 3 children, Sheri is privileged to feed hundreds each week.
To learn more about the CDA Backpack Program, visit us at cdabackpackprogram.com.