In the Dardanelle School District, 72% of students are at or below the poverty line (2016 ESEA District Report). When a child is only guaranteed access to food during the school day, it drastically limits their ability to learn and function normally. Established in 2013 by the First Baptist Church in Dardanelle, the Dardanelle Backpack Program joins churches from all over the Dardanelle area together to provide food for children in need throughout the district. Together, we help make sure that no child in the Dardanelle community has to go hungry.
Each week, 185 students are given a daily snack, as well as a bag on the weekend filled with ready-made or easy to fix food items. Some of the snacks frequently provided are oatmeal, poptarts, cereal bars, macaroni & cheese, raviolis, Ramen noodles, or other simple foods.
The food is collected and stored at First Baptist, with some donations coming in from other area churches and organizations. A team including the Cowboy Church of Centerville comes in weekly to assist with packing each of the bags with several small snacks. Then, every Thursday during the school year, a team from The Journey delivers totes full of these food bags to each of the Dardanelle buildings. We deliver between 12-15 totes of food every week, filling up usually 2 vehicles, sometimes with multiple trips.
Assisting with the Dardanelle Backpack Program is just one way we show our community how important they are to The Journey and to the kingdom of God. For more information on how to get involved in serving through the Dardanelle backpack, whether in monetary, food, or time donations, please contact the Dardanelle Campus Office at 479.477.3912.