Meet Tony Duffy, program coordinator, supporting Blessings in a Backpack programs in Floyd County, Ind. We asked Tony . . .

How long have you been a program coordinator for Blessings in a Backpack?
I have served as a program coordinator for three years.

How did you become involved with Blessings in a Backpack?
As a principal at an elementary school, I saw the need for Blessings in a Backpack and the positive impact it would have at my school. I was recruited by Michelle Day, former director of elementary education.

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How many children do you serve?
We serve 1,200 children who attend schools in Floyd County, Ind.

How many volunteers support your program?
A core of about 20 volunteers supports our program.

What makes your program unique?
We have our own County Advisory Board which raises all the funds to feed our Floyd County children. Currently, we have a 10–20-member board which meets monthly to plan and communicates our fundraising events. We usually receive two very large grants ($35,000 each), and then the Board fundraises for the remaining balance to fund the program.

We have hosted a variety of fundraisers which include:

· Harvest Homecoming 5K
· Different school fundraisers lead by PTO or Student Council
· Hat Day, Dance
· Pass the Bucket at games
· PTO donation
· Dunks for BIB (high school game)
· Pigs for Blessings
· Silent auction
· Harvest Homecoming Booth

We are working toward establishing a larger community-based Advisory Board to help with planning and program implementation.

What part of your program are you most proud of?
I am most proud of how our Board raises 1/3 of the money needed to fund the program. We receive grants from local organizations for the remaining 2/3.

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What are some of the challenges you experience as a program coordinator?
Fundraising is always a challenge as well as finding people that want to serve and help on the Board.

What advice would you give to new program coordinators?
Communication. Communication. Communication.

Do you have a best practice/tip you would like to share?
Recruit as many volunteers as you can. Communication is the key to success.

Tell us one fun fact you would like to share.
Students LOVE Slim Jims.