Gardner-Webb Community Partners with Non-Profit to Collect Food for Hungry Children

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Little Bulldog Backpack Project Expands to Second School This Year

A female student filling a bag for the Little Bulldog Backpack programBOILING SPRINGS, N.C.—One in three children in Cleveland County, N.C., do not always know where they will find their next meal, according to the Southeastern University Consortium for Food Security and Health. Through the Little Bulldog Backpack project, Gardner-Webb University Registrar Lou Ann Scates and Biology Professor Susan Manahan have made it their mission to provide meals for these hungry children.

To assist the project, Gardner-Webb officials have designated November as “Feed Our Children” month. Everyone on the GWU campus and in the surrounding community is encouraged to donate individually packaged, non-perishable items to the effort.

Scates and Manahan came up with the idea for the Little Bulldog Backpack project several years ago. “No child deserves hunger,” Scates asserted. “When my son was in elementary school, I saw kids in his class that I knew were going to bed hungry. It hits me deep and pulls at my soul. I couldn’t imagine a little kid not having enough to eat.”

A 501(c)3 non-profit organization, the Little Bulldog Backpack project is separate from GWU, but receives support from students, staff, faculty and the community. Also this year, several churches in the Boiling Springs area—including Green Bethel, Poplar Springs, Flint Hill, Trinity, Crestview, Boiling Springs and Beaver Dam—have joined the effort.

Previously, the group provided non-perishable food items only to students at Springmore Elementary School, but this year, students at Boiling Springs Elementary School will also receive backpacks full of food. Social workers at each school have identified a total of 50 children who need food on the weekends. Through the week, these children eat breakfast and lunch at school with the help of free and reduced lunch programs.

The backpacks are stuffed with food each week by students in the GWU chemistry honors club, Honors Program and a University 111 class. The bags are delivered to school bus drivers who give them to the kids as they head home on Friday afternoon.

Collection bins will be placed around the GWU campus. For information and a list of items to donate, email LouAnn Scates at or call 704-406-4263.

Located in the North Carolina foothills, Gardner-Webb University is a place where Christian compassion meets critical thinking. A private, Christian, liberal arts university, Gardner-Webb emphasizes a strong student-centered experience and rigorous academics to prepare students to become effective servant-leaders within the global community. Ignite your future at