Community helps fight weekend hunger among Burlington-Edison students

Backpacks crammed with meals exit on Friday afternoons to elementary-faculty college students in want of assist over the weekend.

BURLINGTON, Skagit County — The cafeteria at West View Elementary Faculty on Friday afternoons is a little bit of managed chaos.

Backpacks line the lunch tables whereas volunteers unload bins of meals from a truck outdoors.

At 2:35, college students from Burlington-Edison Excessive Faculty arrive and the remainder of the work begins — packing the backpacks with meals for elementary-faculty college students to take residence for the weekend. The backpacks have to be prepared by three:30.

“That is just like the hour of energy,” stated David Strich, director of the twenty first Century Group Studying Middle at Allen Elementary Faculty.

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What started as a project to fight weekend hunger for students at the learning center now includes four of the Burlington-Edison School District’s five elementary schools.

“The more kids we reach, the better,” said Burlington-Edison High School senior Ryan Walker.

Last year, Walker was part of essentially a two-man crew that made sure all the backpacks at Allen Elementary School got to the kids who needed them most.

Now he’s running the show when it comes to Allen and Bay View elementary schools. “There’s a lot of kids here that need food, right where we live,” he said.

For help, Walker has recruited his father, Jim; mother, Carol; and younger brother, Wyatt.

“He loves it,” Carol Walker said of her older son. “He loves the kids coming up to him and going, ‘Do you have my bag?’ They light up when they see (him) coming.”

Carol Walker, an instructional assistant at Bay View, drives the backpacks to that school, while Ryan drives bags to Allen.

“It’s turned into a family thing,” Ryan Walker said. “I think we all like helping, and this is a good way to do it.”

While the Walkers handle delivery to two schools, the Burlington-Edison High School Interact Club — a Rotary program for high-school students — and the Burlington Morning Rotary make sure students at the other two schools get their backpacks.

“It’s a thing of beauty,” said Burlington Morning Rotary President-elect Jerry Ellis. “It’s heartwarming to see everyone involved.”

The food comes from donations from the food bank and from Community Action of Skagit County, with whatever else is needed purchased by the Rotary Club,…

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