The Quapaw Tribe has made a donation to the weekend backpack snack program for Miami Schools. The Quapaw Tribe donated hundreds of food items and snacks that will help feed hungry children right here in the community.The special backpacks are sent home over the weekends with students who may not have food for those days.
Peyton Westmoreland, Washington Elementary's school based social worker said the program is helping around 50 children from the school and has helped as many as 96 children in past years. Teachers can recommend students for the program as they see is needed. Westmoreland and Principal Vickie Lewis expect the number of students served to grow as the school year progresses.
"I think the need is going to be greater this year, with the economy, lots more families seem to be in distress,"Westmoreland said.
Westmoreland said the backpacks have been going home with students for four years.
She said, "Miami's a very supportive community. We send out donation letters and then the First Christian Church does a lot for us. I had some money left over from last year that I kind of stockpiled. The House of Hope in Grove also donated items."
Westmoreland sent a letter to the Quapaw Tribe requesting donations and they immediately responded to the need.
Donna Mercer, Quapaw's Tribal Administrator said, "We got involved because the tribe is very big about community support and giving back, especially when it comes to children. You know one of our main focuses is our children because they're our future, and so anything that the tribe can do to enhance a child's life, we're always right there."
Abbey Morgan a first grade student at Washington and a Quapaw tribal member said she likes the backpacks for kids. She said , "I like to help other kids." She said she is proud of how her school.
"We really try to work and help our Quapaw kids, but really don't stop there, we help all the children," Mercer said.
"The Quapaw Tribe is very supportive. They've been great. It's a great partnership," Westmoreland said.
The fifth grade students at Washington help pack the donated food into the backpacks and deliver them to the classrooms. Westmoreland said, " We make it a community project. We rotate the kids out so everybody gets to participate."