Janice Robertson: helping one thousand students with weekend meals


A program to help less fortunate students in the Hamilton County area started off relatively small and has grown exponentially.

"She started it out with 150 bags a week. Now, we are up to 1000 bags," said Janice McConnell. McConnell's friend, Janice Robertson started the "Snack Pack" program.

'It's suprising to me that there are so many kids in need," said McConnell. Volunteers pack blue plastic bags in "assembly-line" style. These bags go to children who eat breakfast and lunch at school during the week and more often than not, come home to nothing.

"I have children and grandchildren and I don't think about them going hungry like that," said McConnell. For other families in the NewsChannel 9 viewing are though, this is a sad reality. Roberston started the program with her own money, but it has increased in size thanks to donations and her church, the East Brainerd Church of Christ.

We take our $500 and head to the back of the church where Robertson is organizing sacks and food.

"Hey Janice, I have a surprise for you. On behalf of the McMahan Law Firm and NewsChannel 9, I would like to present you with 500 dollars for all the work you have done with the snack pack program," said McConnell.

Robertson said she was inspired by her son who works for the school system, "... he came to church one day and told something here that he has high school students that wre going home on the weekends with no food until Monday morning. I just decided I had to do something."

She brought us into the "work room" where she said it may look like a mess, but it is extremely organized. Last packing session, they put together four thousand bags, which means 40,000 pieces of food are on assembly line. There are ten items in each bag, like protein bars, peanut butter crackers, hot chocolate, macaroni, and juice. Robertson said these bags are delivered to students at 13 different area schools.

"This is just to help them from Friday evening to Monday morning when they come back to school. It's heart-breaking to me to know that these children are going through this, but it brings me a great deal of joy to know that we can help them," said Robertson.

Do you know someone like Janice? Nominate your unsung hero for our Pay it Forward surprise by filling out this nomination form.

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