The ECCPTA helped raise $350 for the ECSD Back Pack Program and presented the gigantic check at the Fishing Rodeo! The original press release follows:
Calling all anglers who like to fish for a good cause! The Escambia County School District’s Maintenance Department’s Annual Family Fishing Rodeo is set to begin this Friday, September 2nd, with a Captain’s Meeting at the Grand Lagoon Yacht Club at 6:30 p.m.
Funds raised through tickets purchased by competitors and through sponsorships and donations will help the maintenance department help local students.
“Approximately 60% of Escambia County’s students are eligible for free or reduced priced meals at school. Our personnel noticed a few years ago that there were students coming in Monday morning who teachers could tell had not had enough to eat over the weekend,” explained Chuck Peterson, Director of Maintenance and Custodial Services. His staff realized that this was something they could help address. The first year they pooled resources and helped around 25 students by sending snacks home with them on Fridays. But they wanted to do more, so the Family Fishing Rodeo was started.
“We try to find food items that kids like, are nutritional, and are easy to open,” said Scott Stillman, a member of the Maintenance Department’s Backpack Team. “We spend about $2.25 weekly, $9.00 a month or $90.00 a year, on each student and work hard to find items they do not need to use a stove to prepare.”
They also recruited help from students in the Pensacola High School, International Baccalaureate program. The original group graduated this summer after creating a website – backpackprojectusa.com – designing a logo and planning multiple events and recruiting business partners. Together, the IB Team of high school students and the maintenance department brought the number of students served last year up to 355! The goal this year is to raise enough funds to match or exceed that number.
Along the way, they also gained a partnership with all three Escambia County Sonny’s BBQ restaurant locations. The restaurants supported last year’s events by sponsoring the dinner at the Captain’s meeting and donating drinks and sides for the Sunday Fish Fry. Most recently, they encouraged their customers to donate food items or money by offering them Sonny’s Bonus Cards. In addition, the Escambia County Council of PTAs has helped by raising donations during their annual leadership training and this year the Workforce Education instructors took up over $750 in donations at their inservice held a few days before school started.
“We can’t thank everyone enough for all of the support, we try to acknowledge them at the awards ceremony on Sunday, but nothing we can say is adequate,” added Scott Stillman.