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The Magazine of The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America

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What's in your backpack?

For these kids it's weekend food and a book from 'Good Neighbors'

Lois Garlough called it a miracle last summer when more than 50 volunteers from four churches assembled lunches and weekend backpacks for 250 poverty-level children near Smith Mountain Lake, an upscale central Virginia community.

But her core group is aiming higher next summer when it will operate a four-week day camp for 100 children at five schools, in addition to distributing even more backpacks and lunches. “This is bigger than anything I’ve ever done,” said Garlough, a church and community worker.

Lois Garlough stands in the food pantry
Lois Garlough stands in the food pantry at Lake Christian Ministries in Moneta, Va. Garlough, a member of Trinity Ecumenical Parish in Moneta, and other members organized Smith Mountain Lake Good Neighbors, which provides backpacks full of food and a book every weekend to lower-income childrenattending summer school.
The volunteers, organized as Smith Mountain Lake Good Neighbors, grew out of a national Just Neighbors program designed to raise awareness of poverty and to promote community response. In an exploratory group, Garlough and her friends learned that more than 500 children in five nearby schools are eligible for free or reduced school lunches. If that’s true, what do they eat in the summer? they wondered.


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