Rotarians working on middle school backpack program

The Minden Rotary Club has been working with Carson Valley Middle School to initiate a backpack program for students in need that would provide them with food and other essentials on a weekly basis.

According to Minden Rotary Club President Tim Ghan, the middle school has indicated that the number of students in need and willing to accept assistance ranges in the 20s, and that the school would like to incorporate the program into its life skills curriculum.

Students enrolled in life skills courses would develop shopping lists and do the purchasing for the backpacks under the supervision and guidance of their instructor. These students would also pack the backpacks, which would then be distributed by staff in order to preserve privacy for the recipients.

Distributions would be in used backpacks to further ensure confidentiality, and the backpacks would be returned to the school on Mondays as a condition of receiving a full backpack the next week.

The Minden Rotary Club already sponsors the Interact Club at Douglas High School, which runs a similar program. Through that experience, they've learned that approximately $200 a month is sufficient to fill backpacks for 12 students.

With an estimated 20 students at the middle school, approximately $350 would be required per month for 10 months of the school year.

Ghan said if the club is able to raise sufficient funding, they'll include a program at Pau-Wa-Lu Middle School as well. In that case, an additional $650 would be needed, bringing the total funding requirement to $1,000 a month.

For the program so far, Ghan said, the Rotary has obtained a commitment for $2,000, providing they can match it with community contributions.

The Rotary is in the process of approaching local businesses to secure matching funds as well as additional funding for the entire year.

"Ultimately, we would like to make this a sustaining program into the future with the hope that the number of students needing this type of assistance will decline as the economic strength of the county improves," said Ghan.

Those interested in helping out should call Ghan at (775) 888-0920.


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