2013-08-15 / Front Page

Escape those un-BEAR-able kitchens

CHAD WILSON news@c-bstatesman.com

Several local restaurants are teaming up with the Bear Necessities BackPack Program, which provides nutritious and easy to prepare food for students at the Brownsboro ISD Elementary and Intermediate campuses.

Organizers hope that ‘Un-bear-able Kitchens in August’ will spur community involvement as well as raise awareness concerning the East Texas Food Bank’s supplemental food initiative for students in our area who would benefit from the Bear Necessities program.

From 5-8 p.m. on Tuesday, Aug. 20 the restaurants in Chandler and Brownsboro will inform customers of the Bear Necessities program.

“Is your kitchen un-bear-able for cooking this August? Then eat out this Tuesday at a Chandler or Brownsboro restaurant and learn more about Bear Necessities. It is a community-based ministry which will send elementary and intermediate students home with a backpack filled with non-perishable food items for over the weekend. We know that the economy is tough for many families and this is one way to ensure that our students will be provided for,” Sherry Parker said.

Brownsboro restaurants participating in the event are El Presidente Mexican Restaurant, Pizza Pro, and Tres Amigos Cafe.

Chandler participating restaurants include China Chef, KT’s Seafood & Grill, Los Dos Potrillos, Pizza Pro, Pop’s Honey Fried Chicken, San Pedro’s Mexican Restaurant and Grill, Sonic Drive-In and Subway.

Wade’s Place in Chandler is not open on Tuesday but will participate in the event Wednesday.

Bear Necessities organizers will rely on referrals from the counselors, teachers and staff at each campus, which will begin soon after school starts.

“It may be a week or two before it really gets rolling. By then all the paperwork will be turned in from the parents; a routine is established with the teachers, and the referrals will be channeled through the counselors. Since this is a new program, we don’t have any children to carry over like we would come next year; so this year we need a little bit of a learning curve,” Parker explained. “Betsi Erwin, the new counselor at BES stated her previous school where she was employed had the backpack program. She said it was very successful and helped a lot of children. She was excited to see we were implementing the same program here in our district.”

The food is provided by the East Texas Food Bank with a cost of $157 per student for the entire school year. Those who would like to make a donation, may send a check (with Bear Necessities on the memo line) to: East Texas Food Bank, Attn: “BEAR” Necessities BackPack Program, 3201 Robertson Road Tyler, Texas 75701. Or, go online: www.easttexasfoodbank.org/backpack (Choose: “Bear” Necessities to credit BISD’s account).

All donations are tax-deductible through the not-for-profit East Texas Food Bank.

A number of businesses have stepped up to the challenge and sponsored a child, or children.

“It is exciting to see the community, the businesses, as well as the area churches, truly take an interest for the welfare of the most vulnerable in our society….our children. They are our future. I think they’re worth the investment,” Parker said, “I hope you will too.”

For more information on how you can help, please call Sherry Parker at 903- 852-3479, or email sherryparker3@gmail.com.

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