Lewis PTA off to a philanthropic start

By LIZ HARTNETT

neighborhoods@ColumbiaMissourian.com

The tables in the media center at the new Lewis elementary school were packed with parents rather than students at the school’s first Parent Teacher Association meeting on Tuesday, Sept. 14.

Parents and teachers discussed and developed new events and programs for the school year with the help of Missouri PTA secretary Kim Weber. Weber, who has 22 years of experience in the PTA, discussed the importance of being involved the lives of Lewis’ students.

“We’re those parents that help those kids without parents to guide them at home,” Weber said.

Fundraisers, calendar events and committee formation were major topics of conversation. Another important issue raised was the Buddy Pack program.

The Buddy Pack program was developed by the Food Bank for Central and Northeast Missouri to ensure children receive adequate nutrition on weekends and holidays. Students are given backpacks filled with nonperishable, kid-friendly food for the weekend and return the bags on Monday or Tuesday of the following week to be refilled for the next weekend.

Children who receive free or reduced-fare lunches are eligible for assistance from the Buddy Pack program.

Lewis plans to participate in Buddy Pack but faces a major dilemma. The school currently has 480 children eligible for Buddy Pack but because of a lack of volunteers to help move the bags from the food bank to the school, only 100 will actually be able to participate.

The PTA discussed ideas of how to recruit volunteers for Buddy Pack, including taking shifts every other week.

“In today’s world, our main priority should be feeding people,” an adamant parent said about the program.

But despite the zeal that parents and teachers had for the Buddy Pack program, the meeting carried on, leaving their dilemma for further discussion.

Before the conclusion of the meeting, organizing programs like 3 for Me, in which parents pledge to dedicate three hours of their time to their children’s school, and Men Organized to Raise Engagement (MORE), which focuses on getting fathers more involved in their children’s education, were brought to the limelight.

The next PTA meeting will be held at 6 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 12, in the Lewis Media Center.

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