Blessings in a backpack

Ancilla basketball team members help hungry children
Staff Writer

Ancilla Baseball Team Helps End Hunger with Blessings in a Backpack
When the school bell rings at the end of the day on Friday, many Plymouth children know there is a long weekend of hunger ahead.  20 members of Ancilla College’s baseball team hoped to help end that hunger by volunteering at Blessings in a Backpack.
Blessings in a Backpack is a program that provides food for 200 students each week from Plymouth’s four elementary schools, as well as Riverside Intermediate and Lincoln Junior High School. On the first Thursday of each month during the school year, volunteers gather at Memories Reception Hall at 401 E. Jefferson to assemble a month’s worth of food bags. The bags contain canned soup, Ramen noodles, cereal and a variety of other food items. Baseball team members gave of their time to help assemble the bags.  They finished packing bags in a record 30 minutes. The bags are then loaded into tubs and distributed to the schools. School officials pass them out to the students before they head home on Friday.
Ellen Stillson and Chris Garner organize the program locally. Stillson says it costs just $80 per year to sponsor a student. Stillson added that the demand is greater than the group can currently provide.
“Our last count showed around 600 kids eligible for this program. We would love to be able to feed them all! In order to do that, we would need a large space to be able to store the food. We have been given a space at the Memories Banquet Hall for our monthly packing location and they have been more than generous with us. However, if we want to expand the program any more, we will need a much larger space to not only sort the food, but also to store food.”
Joe Yonto, head baseball coach at Ancilla, added “It was a great cause to support; what they do for the kids and community is tremendous. I’m glad we could be a part of it and the baseball team was happy to represent what Ancilla stands for.” 
All of the money donated to the program stays local. Donations of non-perishable food items, such as macaroni and cheese, granola bars and juice boxes, are also welcome. Volunteers to help bag the food each month are also welcome. Checks can be mailed to Blessings in Backpack, 12954 6th Road, Plymouth, IN 46563. Ellen Stillson can be contacted at stillsone@embarqmail.com for more information.
Ancilla College (www.ancilla.edu) is a Catholic, liberal arts, Associate’s Degree college in Donaldson, Indiana, sponsored by the Poor Handmaids of Jesus Christ.

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