Tallahassee, FL –The Rotary Club of Tallahassee presented their annual gift to support Second Harvest of the Big Bend’s school backpack program, bringing their total financial donations to the school backpack program at Riley Elementary to $132,000. This year’s gift of $18,000 is an increase over previous years, encouraged by Rotary Club President Charlie Rockwood in light of the pandemic and its devastating impact on our community.
Thousands of children in the Big Bend are the beneficiaries of Second Harvest’s child hunger backpack program, implemented 10 years ago. What started as an idea from Tallahassee Rotarians Scott Bonnell and Duncan Moore was launched in 2010 with a single school, Riley Elementary.
Under the steadfast leadership of CEO Monique Ellsworth and her team at Second Harvest food bank, the backpacking program now serves 27 schools and 3,500 students. These bags provide supplemental food to the most vulnerable students in our community, and are distributed to students on Fridays to help meet their nutritional needs during the weekend when school breakfast and lunch are not available.
Second Harvest’s Chief Development Officer, James McGowan, received the check from Pam Griggs, Community Service Chair of the Rotary Club of Tallahassee, along with a crew of dedicated volunteers comprised of the Rotary Club of Tallahassee and Interact clubs from both Chiles and Leon high schools. Griggs commented “It’s difficult to learn to read or hold an interest in any other subject area with an empty tummy; no child should go to school hungry.”
Riley Elementary is a Title I school in Tallahassee that relies upon many community partnerships. The Rotary Club of Tallahassee considers itself honored to be one of those partners and grateful to have been able to increase this year’s gift.