McRoberts, Kentucky (population 972 at the last census) is a mining community deep in the hills of the Cumberland mountain range in Eastern Kentucky. Had Pam Koner, founder of Family to Family (http://family-to-family.org)) not called to talk about hungry school kids in McRoberts, we would never have known it even existed. Family to Family focuses on ways we can eliminate hunger in this country, particularly hunger in small, rural communities with minimal resources.
McRoberts – once we had the name, a Google search gave us some very interesting information, some of it very sad and disturbing. McRoberts was established nearly 100 years ago by the Consolidation Coal Company, one of the large companies involved in mining coal in the area. The town was to serve but one purpose…to house the miners who worked for the company. As long as the mines produced, the residents of McRoberts were comfortable and could earn a living. With the recent economic downturn, more mines are closing and more of the townspeople are living on minimal incomes.
Pam’s call was to share the conversation she had with the McRobert’s school principal. She learned that about 60 kids in the school were going home on Fridays with no assurance of having food available for the weekend. Many kids were going hungry over the weekend. Pam wanted to step in and called me to ask if the Good People Fund could help her with funds to purchase sufficient amounts of "kid-friendly" food that would be placed in a backpack and sent home with these kids every Friday. Pam estimated that it would cost about $5.00 per child. Within a short time Pam found a donor to purchase the backpacks and quickly contacted the local K-Mart which is providing the items at a discounted price. In the end, our $1000 donation will underwrite two full months of weekend food for these kids.
One cannot help but wonder how many other kids in rural communities we have never heard of are also going hungry when school is not in session?