Stillwater News Press

Lifestyles

August 9, 2010

Stillwater Project will give away backpacks full of snacks to kids during bi-monthly food distribution

STILLWATER, Okla. — Stillwater Project volunteers will give out more than just food in August.

Cowboys with Compassion operates Stillwater Project’s bimonthly food distribution, which this month will include backpacks full of healthy snacks for children headed back to school.

“The first year, we gave 100. Last year, we gave 150,” said Scott Schaefer. “I don’t know what to expect this year. We hope we increase again and are above the 150 backpack range.”

Cowboys with Compassion is a nonprofit organization that works on projects in the Stillwater area and around the world, including a program in Cambodia to get children off the street, Schaefer said.

Stillwater Project, formerly called Christo’s Community, focuses on needs in Stillwater, including the food distribution in the even-numbered months, he said. At each distribution, workers also try to do something special for the time of year. For instance, Schaefer said, in the spring, they gave away tomato plants and home gardening items, and at Christmas, they give out Christmas dinners.

As a teacher at Stillwater High School and Stillwater Junior High, he said, he thought backpacks of healthy snacks would benefit families with children who come to the food distribution.

Stillwater Project has been giving out backpacks for several years. Last year, the group had just the right number and style of backpacks, Schaefer said, so “a 14-year-old boy isn’t carrying a pink backpack.”

“We’ve been very blessed,” he said. “God’s really been cool.”

All kinds of backpacks are donated, from Dora the Explorer to $150 backpacks from college students, he said.

“We just know it’s going to get taken care of, and every kid will get what they want,” he added.

The food distribution is open to anyone, Schaefer said.

“We just said if you have a need or if you feel like this can help you, you’re welcome to come,” he explained, adding that Stillwater Project will begin working with Angel Food also to help people buy food at a reduced cost.

The group has received more than 100 backpacks already, but will accept more, Schaefer said, along with the snacks to fill the packs: fruit leather, raisins, pudding cups, mixed nuts, peanut butter, crackers, etc. Backpacks — both filled and empty, snacks and monetary donations can be dropped off at The Vine Salon, 424 S. Duck, or Reese Chiropractic, 1415 S. Western.

Stillwater Project needs the backpacks and snacks by Monday, so they can be ready to give away on Wednesday. The food distribution will be at 7 p.m. Wednesday in Hillcrest Baptist Church’s gym.

Anyone who wants to help can call Schaefer at 405-743-5646. Volunteering is open to anyone, Schaefer said, even families.

“I’ve got three kids, all under 7, and they love to help,” he said. “It’s important for kids to see compassion and see people helping out in the community. We invite parents to come if they have kids who want to help.”

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