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UNG student helps feed Lumpkin with "Backpack Buddies"

Backpack Buddies 1
Students take food donations to support Backpack Buddies.

For Lumpkin County's one in four children fighting with food insecurity, relief may not be too far away.

Megan Andres, a sophomore majoring in biology, recently organized a food and supply drive to support the Lumpkin County Family Connection "Backpack Buddies" program. Through partnerships with the Georgia Mountain Food Bank and the Lumpkin County Sheriff's Office, the Lumpkin County Family Connection program seeks to send local schoolchildren home with a healthy meal seven days a week.

Backpack Buddies
UNG students sort and distribute food.

"Hunger and poverty are issues we see daily in families that we serve," said Brigette Barker, director of Lumpkin County Family Connection. "Twenty-six percent of our children are living in poverty, and our free and reduced lunch rate averages 60 percent between our five schools. Children cannot focus on their education with empty stomachs."

Andres was inspired to donate her time and energy to "Backpack Buddies" while volunteering at a soup kitchen in Cornelia.

"After seeing how many people struggled, I decided it would be cool to do something for our community," Andres said.

Andres and members of Tri Beta Biology Honors Society volunteered their time to man a donation table.

"I did a final fundraiser count and we raised 2,106 items," Andres said. "It was a great turn of events for the fundraiser, and we are truly blessed that UNG was able to contribute to helping these children!"

Next year, Andres and Tri Beta plan to expand the fundraiser to more of the Dahlonega Campus.

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