Many children in the Southern Illinois area have trouble obtaining academic success because they have limited or no access to food. Gumdrops, a non-profit organization in Carterville, Illinois is on a mission to make an impact in the lives of children.
Volunteers for Gumdrops assist with filling backpacks with child-friendly food for children to help alleviate this problem in our community.
Mindy Combs and the employees of First Southern Bank have been involved with Gumdrops for the past several years. Their involvement does not stop at writing a check. First Southern Bank employees participate in fundraisers and also help out at the Gum Drop Packing Station.
“We will be hosting a food drive for Gumdrops at all 15 First Southern Bank locations, beginning on June 11 and running until June 24,” says Mindy, “Encouraging employees and customers to get involved and donate items.”
Gumdrops opened their doors in 2008. Since Gumdrops has been established, 1,400 at-risk children have been fed every week of the school year.
“Gumdrops makes a huge impact in the community,” says Mindy, “The program assists with a problem that people don’t like to think about, the problem of childhood hunger.”
Hunger is alive and it’s right here in our community. Gumdrops steps in and makes sure that these children have food to take home and eat. Gumdrops fed 41,041 children in 2012, their record year. Currently, Gumdrops is associated with 12 school districts and 36 schools in Southern Illinois. Summer months are even harder for food pantries due to the fact that children are out of school.
First Southern Bank sponsors the June 24th game of Knock Hunger Out of the Park this summer. All donations collected from June 11-June 24 and the donations collected at the June 24th Southern Illinois Miners game will be given to Gumdrops.
Mindy believes Knock Hunger is a great event that has raised awareness not only for Gumdrops but for other wonderful organizations, fighting the same fight, to stop hunger.
“I anticipate when all Knock Hunger Out of the Park events are complete,” Mindy says, “There will be many food pantries in southern Illinois with full shelves.”