By Talbert Toole
Throughout the LOU community, students and children in the Oxford and Lafayette School Districts lack nutritional needs at home; however, one organization began collecting food to help fill the gaps in the cupboards of local homes.
Lovepacks is a non-profit organization that strives to provide non-perishable food to students in need. It first began in 2010 when a teacher noticed a student’s backpack was leaking. Inside the backpack was gather milk cartons from the cafeteria. The student told the teacher he was collecting leftover milk because he could not get it at home.
This year, Leadership Lafayette—a leadership training program apart of the Lafayette County Chamber of Commerce—partnered with Lovepacks and the Oxford Community Market (OXCM) to help collect food for those children in need of additional nutrients.
Throughout the month of July, each Tuesday during the OXCM’s hours (3-6:30 p.m.) community members are encouraged to drop off food to the organization in order to help provide food for children. Currently, Lovepacks is looking to collect granola bars, protein bars, peanut butter crackers and sandwich crackers. In addition, it is also collecting monetary donations.
Kurt Brummett, a member of Leadership Lafayette and executive director of United Way, said the leadership program chose Lovepacks due to its mission to help children and students throughout the community.
“[Lovepacks] is what we gravitated to because of the amazing work they do,” Brummett said.
Brummett said Leadership Lafayette simply plays a small role in the greater picture. Lovepacks does all the hard work in order to help its community, he said.
While Lovepacks routinely helps during the school year by discreetly slipped food into the children’s backpack on Fridays before they leave for home, summertime is also crucial due to the fact children and students are not attending school to receive the donations.
This is one of the many reasons Leadership Lafayette and Lovepacks decided to reach out to Betsy Chapman, OXCM director, for assistance. Brummett said Chapman was excited to be a part of the donation collection since she actively likes to give back to the community.
Since its founding in 2010, Lovepacks has evolved and expanded over time. In 2012 the organization reached non-profit status and in 2014 the organization had distributed over 15,000 Lovepacks (donations) to schools in Lafayette County.
Schools that Receive Lovepacks:
Bramlett Elementary School
Della Davidson Elementary School
Lafayette Lower Elementary School
Lafayette Upper Elementary School
Lafayette Middle School
Lafayette High School
Oxford Elementary School
Oxford Middle School
Oxford High School
Oxford Intermediate School
Its board members are Mary Leary, Helen Phillips, Alyce Krouse and Camille Bianco. Members who serve the community through Leadership Lafayette are Jessica Lynch (Visit Oxford), Danielle King (GranthamPoole), Michael Newsom (University of Mississippi), Rachel Alcorn (Communicare) and Nishanth Rodrigues (University of Mississippi).