In just one hour, volunteers packed more than 7,000 meals on Wednesday for Hamilton County students.

It's all thanks to the “Snack Pack Program.” The group caters to students in need, providing them meals to take home on weekends.

Separated by four lines, with a blue plastic bag in their hands, at least 300 volunteers packed snacks for students.

“It's like trick-or-treat. You hold your bag open and somebody puts it [snacks] in there,” said Janice Robertson, founder of the Snack Pack Program. “No one in this ministry is paid; not one person. Every penny goes towards the food.”

Robertson started the mission in her living room five years ago. Then she and her friends fed 150 students. Now, the program provides more than $2,000 worth of meals each week. On Thursday, volunteers packed 7,070 bags with food.

“It costs $80 per year for one child and that's because we've got our food bags under $2 each. So we need $80 for one child. Our budget this year is over $160,000 and we have to raise all of that money,” said Robertson.

The program is in 24 Hamilton County schools. The staff divvies up the snack packs based on each school's need.  

“It breaks my heart that we can't touch everybody but we are hoping that one day we won't have any children that are hungry and right now we just have to do the best we can do,” Robertson said.

It's not a small task, but it's one this group says is important and impacts everyone in the community.
“We want to see our Hamilton County Schools succeed and they can't succeed if our children are hungry and they cannot concentrate in the classroom,” Robertson said.

The 7,070 snack packs will equal three deliveries. They will be delivered to schools in about two weeks. Robertson says school the principals, teachers and guidance counselors which students will get a snack pack.

The next packing day for the program will be September 4 at East Brainerd Church of Christ. Volunteers can meet at 9 a.m. or 6:30 p.m.