By Jeff Noble / Staff Writer
Volunteers with the Corbin Community Backpack Program like to tell their friends that “Full bellies equal hungry minds.”
There’s a reason for that. The organization learned from principals and Family Resource Center coordinators in the Corbin Independent Schools district that at least 50 percent of local children have little or no food from the time they leave school on Friday until they return the following Monday.
To help, the program feeds and improves the lives of children in need.
That costs money.
And to raise funds to help the program, they’re getting together with the Free Time Band for a concert at 7:30 p.m. Saturday at the Corbin Center off the Cumberland Falls Highway behind Applebees’s on the way to The Arena.
Along with their music, there will be dancing, concessions and door prizes, with all proceeds benefiting the Corbin Community Backpack Program.
The local band’s no stranger at playing for good causes. The Backpack Program’s board chair, Doris Moore, said the Free Time Band’s strummed some tunes to help the organization several times.
And with the band playing, there will be doctors in the house next Saturday night.
“They’re mostly made up of doctors. Of the five members of the group, three of them are doctors. Dr. Danny Whitley, Dr. Bill Curtis and Dr. Yvon Parent. They’re joined by Jerry Pennington and Robert Gaylor, and they play music in their free time. That’s how the band got its name,” Moore said.
With the name, she added the five guys find ways to weave in sounds from several musical styles, which have pleased many a person at their performances.
“It’s a variety. They do some Bluegrass, they do some pop, some country, and some blues. They do it all, and they do it very well. If you’ve never heard them, they’ll surprise you. They’re a great band,” said Moore.
The Backpack Program involves individuals, along with community-minded businesses, civic organizations and churches, who see a common need to feed hungry children. According to the program’s website, educators and researchers say a lack of sufficient food can permanently affect a child’s mental and physical development. As a result, compared to well-fed children, hungry children don’t learn as well.
That’s where the non-profit organization comes in.
Their website reported a total of just over 25,258 bags of food were given to students in the Corbin Independent Schools district and in the surrounding areas during the 2011-12 school year.
“Last school year, we spent approximately $30,000 to buy food for the children in Corbin, plus some schools in Knox and Whitley counties. And there’s more need to feed the kids that we’re not reaching,” Moore noted.
The program serves students in six schools in the Corbin school district — Corbin Preschool, Corbin Primary, Corbin Elementary, Corbin Intermediate, Corbin Middle and Corbin High. In Knox County, Lynn Camp Elementary, Lynn Camp Middle, Lynn Camp High School and Knox County Central Elementary are helped by the Backpack Program. The schools in Whitley County helped by the program are Oak Grove Elementary, Whitley North Elementary and Whitley Day School.
In addition, Corbin Housing Project children below school age are also a weekly part of the Backpack Program. The organization’s summer program also supplies food for all children in the Corbin Housing Projects.
If you need more information about Saturday’s concert, call 606-528-1333. To become a sponsor or to make a cash donation, go to their website at www.corbinbackpack.com or send donations to Corbin Community Backpack Program, P. O. Box 1891, Corbin, KY 40702.