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Faculty Members Aid Local Hunger Fight

From left: Michelle Faught, ICCAP; Francisco Alarcon, IUP APSCUF vice president; and Desiree Jackson, Power Pack Program coordinator

Faculty members contributed $1,250 to expand a new countywide food program that targets needy children who leave school hungry on Fridays and return hungry on Mondays.

The Power Pack Program, administered by the Indiana County Community Action Program, the leading food bank in the county, was launched in January 2009 and is funded mostly by private donations. ICCAP is a local, private, nonprofit anti-poverty agency that serves more than 2,000 county households. ICCAP officials say the need for the program is growing.

“School nurses contacted us with a request to help them because hungry students were coming to them with stomach aches and dizziness from lack of food,” Desiree Jackson, ICCAP food program counselor, said.

Elementary schools already involved in the Power Pack Program are Marion Center’s W.A. McCreery and Rayne Township schools, Purchase Line, and Blairsville, which serve 441 schoolchildren, Jackson said. Program officials plans to expand the project in 2012 to Ben Franklin, East Pike, Eisenhower, and Horace Manor elementary schools in the Indiana Area School District, bringing the number of children served to more than 770 children, a 74 percent increase. Additional schools are eligible.

IUP Association of Professional State College University Faculty representatives said the ICCAP program fits the faculty’s interest in making sure schoolchildren are well-prepared for higher education.

“Nothing is more basic to academic preparation than a well-nourished student,” David Loomis, Journalism professor and APSCUF Outreach Committee chairperson, said.

“Support for ICCAP’s Power Pack Program is one more way APSCUF members can support our community.”

ICCAP officials expressed gratitude for the financial boost APSCUF members are providing.

“You have no idea what your support means to the children served by this project,” Sandra Dills, ICCAP interim director, said. “What a difference this will make!”