SULLIVAN COUNTY, Ind. (WTWO/WAWV) — Kay Brewer’s mission to feed the food insecure children in Sullivan County started with a personal connection.
“My husband and I adopted a little girl from Idaho and she told us that her mom didn’t feed her. When she told us that, it was one of these, you know, if she’s out there how many other kids are out there,” said Brewer.
How the Brown Baggers program began:
So began the Brown Baggers Food Program, which aims to eliminate food insecurity for Sullivan County children by providing them with weekly meals.
A group of volunteers meets every week of the year to bag food items for children, dropping them off on Thursdays to schools during the school year, and to homes in the summertime.
Why the Brown Baggers meet every week:
When it comes to the content of the bags, Brewer says health is an important factor.
“We try to make them as healthy as we can, for the amount of money that we have to work with, but they get a breakfast lunch and dinner, a fruit a drink and a snack for each day of the weekend,” said Brewer.
Brewer says the need for these meals is evident in interactions with recipients.
“We had a family that the two little boys, it was actually during the summer I was home delivering, they came out and was like we waited for you all day, and I was a day early, because we were going out of town, and it dawned on me they were trying to stretch their food out all week,” said Brewer.
“I would’ve had to go to the local grocery store and steal” without program:
Peggy Copeland has been volunteering with the Brown Baggers for a year, and says community awareness is key to solving the issue of food insecurity.
“I think that’s part of the problem is the community needs to be educated on the need. Knowing that there’s children going hungry and it could be my neighbor’s child that needs help,” said Copeland.
Somebody does care, somebody does love them enough to want to help them.Kay Brewer, founder of Brown Baggers Food Program
Brewer says educational leaders at participating schools have noticed a difference in students receiving meals from the Brown Baggers.
“Principals have said that their attitudes improve, detentions are less, because they’re not concentrating on the fact that they’re hungry,” said Brewer.
Instead, they’re focused more on academics and their future, which Brewer says is the goal of the program.
“Somebody does care, somebody does love them enough to want to help them, and hopefully that will help them later in life succeed,” said Brewer.
The Brown Baggers are currently using a building given to them temporarily by County Commissioners. Brewer says they are raising money not only for meals, but also to cover costs of a new building.