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A sampling of some of the food items distributed to children on March 20 by the Kiwanis Club of Christiansburg.

Several years ago, the Kiwanis Club of Christiansburg began a weekly backpack program for the children of Christiansburg’s Head Start program. These preschool children receive breakfast and lunch at Head Start during the week. The Kiwanis program provides the children with backpacks on Friday of each week to take home in order for them to have food over the weekend.

During normal times, on each Thursday several Kiwanians meet at the Head Start building at 5 p.m., just prior to the regular club meeting, to pack 57 backpacks for the children to take home on Friday. The backpacks are filled with nutritious food which provides the children meals on the weekends. The club actually procures the food, picks it up (mostly from Feeding Southwest Virginia in Salem) and packs the bags at the Christiansburg Head Start facility.

After Kiwanis members discovered that Head Start was suspending school due to the coronavirus, the members began to look for a way to continue feeding the children on the weekends. Working with the Head Start staff, they came up with a plan for four or five of the Kiwanians to come to the Head Start building on Thursday afternoons to do the backpacks and for the parents or someone else to come by the building on Fridays to take the food to the children’s homes. Again, to minimize the risk of spreading the virus, the Kiwanis member carries the backpacks from the building to the pickup vehicle where the driver will stay in the car while receiving the food. Plans are for this process to continue for as long as the suspension is in effect.

Head Start is a federally funded preschool program which offers comprehensive developmental services to children 3 to 5 years of age. The primary components of Head Start are education, social services, preventative health and nutrition.

For more information about the Kiwanis Club of Christiansburg please visit http://christiansburgkiwanis.com

Submitted by Ernie Wade

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