FT MYERS FLA – Bellies are full, bodies are healthy and brains are ready to learn at Tice Elementary School according to Principal Ronda Amaya. The teacher turned administrator has been involved with the Blessings in a Backpack program since she came to Tice Elementary six years ago.
“The program is really important because of the level of economic need in our community. We have free breakfast and free lunch in our school and the families come to depend on that”, she said.
At the ten year anniversary event at the school, where the program first started, Principal Amaya and parent volunteers helped give food to every student.
One of those volunteers is Alma Myers who regularly helps with the program and whose own kids benefit from the Blessings in a Backpack Program.
She told Fox 4, “They’re happy to have have brought something to the house. They’re excite. They say mommy I brought this home”.
Hurricane Irma has increased the need for for meals for many of the kids at Tice Elementary School. Some children have gone up to two weeks without the meals the program provides. Other families in the area have also reached out since the storm has left them without access to good nutrition.
“We probably get about a dozen families that walk ut of here with boxes of food that will last their family a couple of days”, Amaya told Fox 4.
For now, directors of the program planning to fill the the need should a storm like Irma happen again. Director Cecelia St. Arnold told us, “I just want to be more prepared so we can feed more kids in light of what happened during Irma”.