Governor Terry McAuliffe announced recipients of the 2017 Governor’s Volunteerism and Community Service Awards on April 20th during an awards ceremony held at the Governor’s Mansion. These awards spotlight the outstanding efforts individual and organization volunteers make on behalf of citizens throughout the Commonwealth. “I am proud and honored to celebrate Virginia’s outstanding volunteers who have made such enormous contributions to those in need throughout the Commonwealth,” said Governor McAuliffe. “These individuals, organizations and companies set an example for us all to give back to our communities and embody the spirit of service which makes Virginia a special place to live and work.”
Congratulations to Backpacks of Love Cumberland Elementary School Coordinators of Cumberland County -- winner of the 2017 Virginia Governor's Volunteerism and Community Service Award for Outstanding Educational Institution! Backpacks of Love, Inc., was born out of a personal mission from its founder Bobby Fulcher, who personally struggled with food scarcity while growing up. Backpacks of Love provides wholesome food to school children in the counties of Powhatan, Cumberland, and Buckingham, so that they don’t go hungry over the weekend. Backpacks of Love’s highly engaged board members collect all donations, distribute food items to schools, and solicit community and corporate sponsors. At Cumberland Elementary and Middle Schools, three amazing volunteers -- Carol Allen, Pat Parker, and Arlene Robinson -- faithfully pick up the food items and ensure that more than 250 food bags are delivered in a timely and discrete manner on the last day of each school week. To date, Backpacks of Love has delivered more than 40,000 backpacks (which equates to approximately 240,000 meals) to students in rural Virginia! The impact in Cumberland has been tremendous, since approximately 65 percent of students are eligible for free or reduced price lunch and are in danger of being hungry. Although starting such a project is challenging in poor, rural areas with limited resources – Backpacks of Love has accepted the mission of making a difference and has successfully raised hunger awareness and engaged the spirit of the community by simply caring enough to make sure that children in the community don't have to worry about getting their next meal.