Bags on Break, Helping Local Families with Food Insecurity
By Rebecca Koblin
“People think this isn’t an issue in our town” Montgomery Township Girl Scout Emily Koblin says, “but 164 children are on free or reduced lunches.”
"With so many children now being left without a source of food for lunch, we can only wonder how seriously this virus has impacted our town," Koblin says. "I have been made aware that not everyone in Montgomery is wealthy. A lot of people are struggling. These are our neighbors, classmates, and community. We need to take care of them.”
Coronavirus has affected millions of people, making existing hardships even worse. Some are struggling with food insecurity and job loss while others are left without a home. Many students across the country rely on getting their breakfast and lunch at school, where free and reduced lunch programs guarantee that children will be fed. With the cancelation of in person classes comes the fear of what to do next for families who were relying on free and reduced lunches to keep their children fed and healthy.
Concerned with the hardships she knew many families were facing from the pandemic, Koblin, a Montgomery High School rising senior, decided to take matters into her own hands. She created a program called “Bags on Break” to supply families on the free and reduced lunch program throughout the school district with food. Knowing hardships exist for these families, Emily feared that the pandemic would exacerbate this already existing problem.
To lend a helping hand, Emily organized her Girl Scout Gold Award Project around supplying local families with the necessary food and groceries they would need in order to live more comfortably during this time. To do this, Emily created a Facebook page and website to raise awareness around the issue. She then asked people for donations, which she used to buy food from the supermarket and deliver to the families safely.
When asked about how she came up with this project, Emily said: “I went on a church mission trip to the Appalachian Mountains of Tennessee. I found that people there were struggling to make decisions about whether to spend money on food or medications or rent. It made me want to help people in my own community.” After seeing the hardships of people in other areas, Emily knew that she wanted to organize her Gold Award Project around hunger and food insecurity in Montgomery and neighboring towns.
Emily became a Girl Scout when she began kindergarten and has been doing service work ever since. The Girl Scout Gold Award is the most distinguished award that a Girl Scout can receive and takes over 80 hours of dedicated service to complete. Emily began working on her Gold Award at the local Falrooney camp where she was hosting a food drive to donate food to campers on scholarship. Her initial gold award plans were derailed when coronavirus began, and she quickly adapted her plan to include buying food directly for struggling families throughout Montgomery.
If you are interested in getting involved more information is available on Emily’s Facebook page “Bags on Break.”