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Backpack Buddies receives $2,500 grant: Is first of the United Way’s coronavirus emergency program

HUNTINGTON — The United Way of the River Cities announced on Monday that it has created micro grants for non-profit organizations in our region working with communities who are disproportionately impacted by the coronavirus and the consequences of the outbreak.

The first grant from the program was $2,500 for Backpack Buddies, which provides food to children in need in Lawrence County.

The United Way said $86,000 has been made available for the grant program, for which organizations can apply online.

The application and approval is being fast tracked and the grant to Backpack Buddies was deposited into the group’s account on Monday morning.

Jodie Hunt, the program coordinator for Backpack Buddies, said the funds were “a huge blessing” and that the entire process took only two days.

Hunt said the program has been working with the Rock Hill Local School District to bring home deliveries of food to students and they have made their emergency pantry open to the community.

Hunt said, as a result of increased demand, the pantry had become depleted and that the funds will help them to build it back up.

She said Backpack Buddies, which serves the entire county, has been in touch with all school districts and have offered to help.

Hunt said the support they have received from the community in the past two weeks has been “tremendous.”

“So many have reached out to us,” she said. “And we’re so appreciative that we can continue to support people and make services available and help families.”

She said the group is accepting donations for the pantry in the form of nonperishable items, such as granola bars, pudding cups and ramen noodles.

“Anything that a child would be able to prepare,” she said.

Hunt said those interested in donating can call her at 740-534-3550.

Those interested in the United Way’s grant program can find out more online at www.unitedwayrivercites.org/covid19fund.