Back-packing a lunch for Vail Valley kids |

Back-packing a lunch for Vail Valley kids

Sarah Mausolf
Vail, CO Colorado
Kristin Anderson/Vail DailyAvon Elementary School cafrteria manager Toni Berns describes some of the food choices that will be put in backpacks for the Vail Valley Food Rescue Express program Wednesday in Avon, Colorado

VAIL VALLEY, Colorado –Last year, Toni Berns received a letter from a Vail Valley student, thanking her for sending home backpacks full of food.

“Please Miss Toni, continue the program,” the letter said. “Thank you God for feeding us.”

Berns, cafeteria manager at Avon Elementary, launched a pilot program last year providing backpacks full of food to 50 students.

This year, Berns hopes to expand her efforts, starting with a food drive on Saturday at Wal-Mart in Avon.

“I feel that every child deserves to be fed, like every child deserves an education,” Berns said. “Every child deserves a roof over their head.”

Melisa Rewold-Thuon, principal of Avon Elementary, said she hopes to collect enough food to feed 100 students for at least 20 weekends. Students at Eagle County elementary schools who get free or reduced lunches through the federal lunch program are eligible. She said school counselors will pinpoint students with the greatest needs for the backpacks.

Students who participate in the Food Rescue Express program will get their backpacks on Fridays beginning sometime before mid-October, Berns said. Backpacks will contain enough food for three meals – breakfast, lunch and dinner – for Saturday and Sunday. Students return their backpacks to the school by the following Wednesday. Costco and the Cordillera Motorcycle Association donated the backpacks.

Last year, the program outfitted 10 kids per week with backpacks for five weeks. This year the program will be expanded to other elementary schools in the district.

What: Food drive for students

When: 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Saturday

Where: Wal-Mart, Avon

Donations: Shop for food or sponsor a student for $22.50 for one month or $177 for a year

More information: E-mail

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