Alexis Fowler, CFNN Reporter

Currently, it seems like the world is coming to a halt. Everything is strange and uncertain, but we are lucky to have so many people who are willing to help others through these hard times. We are grateful for our healthcare workers, and other essential employees, but we are also lucky to have some special students at our school.

Avery Pickett (right), founder of Backpack Buddies

The Backpack Buddies program helps give food to students at Cape Fear, Mac Williams and other surrounding schools.  It was started by Avery Pickett when she realized some students might not have food to eat on the weekends. The program is aided by volunteers from her church or schools in the area, and all of the food is donated from the community.

Students work to sort supplies for the program.

One of these volunteers is Kaitlyn Keen. Keen is a student at Cape Fear. She was ready and willing to help with the program. “Backpack buddies is an excellent way to help the community because it offers supplies to those who are struggling and it makes a big difference in these kids lives,” Keen said. “I’m glad I was there to contribute at least a little bit to a cause that’s greater than me.”

Packing all of the bags involves a system. It all starts with unpacking all the food items and organizing them into different categories. After it’s all sorted, they put a specific number of items from each category into the bags.

Volunteers help stuff packs for students in need.

They normally make over one hundred bags weekly to help feed students. They are still willing to help through everything and were even prepared to help kids during the entire week. With all of the grocery store shortages, one would think that it would be a problem to find the foods they need. “It has not negatively affected us at all,” said Backpack Buddies founder Avery Pickett. It can be a challenge, but with the help of volunteers and donations, there’s been much success with this program. According to Pickett, “we’re still able to get food out to the families, and that is what matters.”