Donations support backpack program

Murray State is spending October collecting donations and giving to those less fortunate around the city. Murray State is partnering with the First Presbyterian church to help hungry children and chapters of the American Red Cross to help veterans in need.

The Backpack Program, held by the College of Health Sciences and Human Services with First Presbyterian, was created to fill the backpacks of hungry children’s backpacks during weekends and has been extended to last until Oct. 25.

­­While many students who qualify for this program get subsidized meals during the school week, those who do not have food during the weekend are left with nothing to eat until the next Monday.

Roger Weis, assistant dean of the College of Health Sciences and Human Services, said he once interviewed an 8-year-old student who admitted to eating paper to fill his stomach during the weekends before the program started.

Donations are being collected at 105 Carr Health.

However, not only has Murray State been collecting for children, the Office of Veteran Affairs has been thanking veterans for their service and their family members by collecting household items for donation.

Murray State, the Calloway County Red Cross and the Western Kentucky Red Cross have been collecting the donations throughout Murray to aid U.S. veterans. Collection boxes have been placed at Murray’s two Dollar General Stores and in the Veterans Student Lounge.

The boxes have been placed outside the Dollar General Stores to encourage those who shop there to donate. The donations will be delivered in time for Veteran’s Day on Nov. 11.

Alison Marshall, Murray State’s veteran liaison, said these essential items can really come in handy for veterans and their families.

“This is the community’s way of saying ‘we appreciate all that you do and the sacrifices you make’,” Marshall said.

The Red Cross has also kicked off another thank you to those in uniform through its annual Holiday Mail for Heroes, which sends mail to veterans, their families and those currently serving.

The Red Cross is accepting holiday cards through Dec. 6 for volunteers to send out across the nation and overseas. The program, which began in 2006, has distributed more than 6.5 million cards to U.S. Armed forces and their families.

Sherri Brown, senior vice president of Red Cross Services to the Armed Forces, said she thinks taking a second to thank service members is worthwhile.

Brown said: “Everyone gets busy, especially around the holidays, so just a few moments can mean a lot.”


Story by Mary Bradley, Staff Writer