March 23, 2012
Julie O'Heir
314-977-3206

Prison Staff Students Raise $3,400 to Help Feed Children

Prison staff students
The SLU Prison Program offers staff and inmates at the Eastern Reception, Diagnostic and Correctional Center in Bonne Terre, Mo., the opportunity to earn a their asssociate's degree. Photo by Mary Gould

Staff students enrolled in Saint Louis University through the SLU Prison Program raised more than $3,400 for Brenden's Friday Backpack Saturday, March 17, by hosting a trivia night as a part of their service learning for a class, Communicating in Small Groups.

Brenden's Friday Backpack, which operates throughout the Festus, Mo., area, provides weekend meals to children who receive free or discounted school lunch.

Nearly 150 people came out for the event, held at Central High School in Park Hills, Mo., which featured a team trivia game, a silent auction and 50/50 drawing. Donations of food and monetary gifts were also given during the event.

Brenden's Friday Backpack, founded by Vicki Tamboli, sends needy children home with meals for the weekend. Tamboli works with school counselors to identify children in need, then packs bags of food to help the students make it through the weekend. She started the program when, as a school volunteer, Tamboli realized that many young children often had little to no food available outside of their school lunches. Tamboli now spends her Thursday evenings packing bags with food to send home with children.

The SLU Prison Program offers courses, leading to an associate of arts degree, to staff members and incarcerated men at the Eastern Reception, Diagnostic and Correctional Center in Bonne Terre, Mo. The cohort of staff students recently completed CMMK 420: Communicating in Small Groups, a service learning class that inspired this event.

Learn more about Brenden's Friday Backpack, including where to make donations, and the SLU Prison Program online.

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