Imagine coming home from school and not knowing when you would receive your next meal. Children are opening pantries to find no food items. Sadly, this is the case for too many students in the Oxford/Lafayette area.
Oxford Lovepacks was established in 2010 after multiple teachers were seeing dripping food items come from elementary students backpacks. The teachers learned that the students were saving leftover milk cartons and food items to take home after school. The children would take other items from kids’ trays because they did not have food at their homes. Mary Leary and Helen Phillips formed Oxford Lovepacks after hearing of these stories and began talking to elementary school counselor Linda Vaughn of Bramlett.
The small organization started with ten packs a week from the founders’ kitchens and has now grown to over 165 packs a week with the help of Alyce Krouse and Camille Bianco, dedicated volunteers.
“I am very proud to represent a group that is helping fight childhood hunger in the community,” Bianco stated.
These four ladies received the status of a nonprofit organization in 2012 and have continued to serve their community as much as possible. Since it was established, Lovepacks has expanded to eleven schools in the Oxford/Lafayette area. The organization has made and served over 15,000 packs since 2014, and is growing weekly.
Every Thursday morning, volunteers from all over town come and help pack bags for all eleven schools. Volunteers pack bags, organize the food pantry and unload donations. Many come from The University of Mississippi including 3-year volunteer Alexis Lee.
“It has changed me as a person seeing the actual impact we have on people’s lives. You forget how much you have until you see how much other people don’t,” Lee stated.
The organization also incorporates the special needs class of Oxford Middle School as part of their learning skills. The children enjoy meeting new people, loading up the packs into the cars and putting together plastic bags which will hold a food pack. This helps the children learn how to work as a team to complete the tasks.
Bianco expresses that her favorite part of working with Lovepacks is getting to work with so many different groups of people in the Oxford/Lafayette community.
“These groups of outstanding people, and this community have been so generous and supportive of our mission! I feel truly blessed to be a part of Lovepacks and the Oxford/Lafayette community,” said Biano.
Lovepacks is proud to be part of Amazon Smile. By selecting Lovepacks, 0.5 percent of purchases on the Lovepacks page through Amazon will be donated to the organization. Donations are accepted, as well as collecting the food item of the month.