Backyard Blessings exists so poor schoolchildren in Walker County do not go hungry. The problem caused Leneda Jones to act nine years ago, and her actions have multiplied. Now approximately 850 children are fed every week.
“Backyard Blessings is a local community nonprofit in Walker County that serves children in food-insecure homes,” she said. “We work primarily through the public school system to achieve this.”
Jones and her staff identify hungry children by consulting school counselors and teachers. Every child in the Walker County Schools system is up for consideration for Backyard Blessings assistance.
“We give the children in our program a bag of food on Friday; many of them had no food the entire weekend,” Jones said. “We pack those bags here and fill them with foods children love, then we deliver them to the schools.”
Backyard Blessings serves nine schools every week of the school year. The children who receive the food look forward to it.
“One day I was walking through one of the schools when a little child came to me and asked with big eyes, ‘Do we get the food bag today?’ It made me cry knowing we are making a difference,” Jones said.
Jones is determined to continue her mission until all poor children in Walker County are fed.
“We get the food wholesale, and with donations from generous people who know about what we do, and who do not want little children to miss meals,” Jones said. “We also receive funds from grants, churches, local businesses and fundraisers.”
The Alabama Power Foundation is among those supporting Backyard Blessings’ work.
January will mark 10 years for Backyard Blessings. The nonprofit started at one middle school and served 80 children. Within two years it was helping feed between 400 and 500 children.
“The problem is not going away, but we will do everything we can to make sure our children are healthy and can focus on school work,” Jones said.
For more information, visit Backyard Blessings on Facebook.
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