Words and Image by Jenny Lynn Davis
The Kind Vikes, a group of first graders at TR Simmons Elementary School in Jasper, are on a mission to spread kindness wherever they go.
On March 13, they took a trip to Dora, Alabama to help pack food bags for Backyard Blessings, a non-profit organization dedicated to fighting food insecurity among students in Walker County.
Founded in January 2010 by Leneda Jones, Backyard Blessings began as a program serving only Sumiton Elementary/Middle School but has since expanded to include 17 schools in the Walker County and Jasper City systems, as well as West Jefferson Elementary and Berry School. The program provides groceries to students in need to help ensure that they have enough food to eat over the weekend when they cannot receive meals at school.
“When I moved back to Walker County in 2010, relatives that worked in the school were telling me about children who came to school hungry, and I felt like I should do something,” Jones says. “That has blossomed into our current operation, and we now serve 1447 students every week thanks to the hard work of our amazing volunteers.”
The Kind Vikes worked alongside regular Backyard Blessings volunteers to fill bags with 7-8 individual-sized, child-friendly items that equate to 5 small meals. These bags would be distributed to local schools to help students who might otherwise go hungry.
“Backyard Blessings provides around 100 bags of food for students in need at TR Simmons every week, and the Kind Vikes help deliver it to the classrooms,” said TR Simmons Counselor Cathy Jones. “They’ve been so excited to come to visit and help fill the bags and learn how the organization works.”
The trip was an eye-opening experience for the Kind Vikes, who could see firsthand how their actions could make a difference in the lives of others. By participating in the packing process, they could contribute to a cause they cared about and learn the value of giving back to their community. WL