A local program responsible for sending needy students home with snacks received a boost this week when the Campbell Soup Foundation donated $8,000 to the cause.
Called “Project INASMUCH” the program is fueled by volunteers that gather every Thursday to fill 633 snack bags with food.
“The students get the snack bags on Friday so that they can have food to take home on the weekend,” said Virginia Ray, INASMUCH executive director.
Thanks to the Campbell Soup Foundation’s “Nourishing our Neighbors” project, INASMUCH volunteers earn their cause $500 for every 25 hours they serve.
For their work over the past year, INASMUCH volunteers were presented with an $8,000 check by Campbell Soup representative Lawrence King earlier this week.
Campbell Soup employees – both past and present – are among the volunteers working every week to pack the snack bags.
“(Campbell Soup) encourages us to be involved and to help out in the community,” said Campbell Soup employee Donna Chavis. “We are so fortunate to have (Campbell Soup) in our neighborhood.”
While working as an elementary school principal in 2006, Ray founded INASUMUCH out of a concern for the well-being of her students.
Ray said that she noticed many of them coming to school hungry on Mondays because of a lack of food over the weekend, when school was out.
In the first week, INASMUCH delivered 50 snack bags to a local school. In its second week, 135 were delivered. That number grew over the following months and the program expanded to eventually include all 13 Scotland County schools.
Included in the snack bags every week are fresh fruit, fruit snacks, peanut butter crackers, beef sticks, pudding cups, cheese crackers and a sweet cake.
“The snack bags are placed in the backpacks of each child just before they are dismissed on Friday afternoon,” Ray said.
INASMUCH has grown to also assist families in need get through the summer months, Ray said.
“Where INASMUCH is working with the families one-on-one, many other needs are found and taken care of,” she added. The one-on-one assistance can include bedding, linens and other household items.
“We are just trying to do as much as we can,” Ray said.