Pascagoula program needs help battling child hunger

PASCAGOULA, MS (WLOX) - A program that provides free food for less fortunate students in Pascagoula every weekend needs more people to get involved. Volunteers with the group Backpack Buddies said they have more people on their list than they have food to provide.

Volunteers wasted no time packing bags with food for kids to fill up with over the weekend.

"We know the schools give them breakfast. We know they give them lunch, but they do go home Friday afternoon and many of them don't really have what is called a meal," volunteer Sharon Moorehead said.

Couple Larry and Sharon Moorehead recently joined the Backpack Buddies volunteer team to help. It breaks their hearts to know a lot children don't have enough to eat.

"There was a child, I think up in Hurley, who came to school and they discovered that the child was eating raw pecans and even the green ones. The child was in a state of extreme hunger to do something like that," Larry Moorehead said.

Rebecca Estabrook agrees. She heads the program in Pascagoula and said it helps feed children from kindergarten to high school.

"The children in the program are identified through nurses, the principals, and the guidance counselors," Estabrook said.

The backpack buddies volunteers are now serving 150 children, its largest group ever. There is even a waiting list to participate in the program.

"Whenever students are on a waiting list, we have to wait until someone else moves in order to feed them. They are just waiting and they are hungry," Estabrook said.

The more funding, food donations, and volunteers the group can get, the more children Backpack Buddies can serve in the community.

"If they are worried about where their next meal is coming from they are not focusing on their school work. We want to be able to get them fed," Estabrook said.

If you would like to donate or volunteer to help backpack buddies in Pascagoula, call (228) 617-9467.

Food Items needed:

All non-perishable items, but no peanut butter

Entree items

Easy Mac (in plastic containers or bags)

Spaghetti and meat balls in plastic containers

Canned tuna and chicken

Canned Vienna sausage

Cans of soup (preferably in plastic containers)

Raman Noodles


Individual sized fruit cups


Crackers (no peanut butter, please)

Breakfast items

Individual sized oatmeal and grits

Individual sized cereal boxes

Pop tarts

100% juice

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