For the first time in five years, HOPE Packs is running out of plastic grocery bags.

Every week during the school year, program volunteers fill the bags with food like mac-n-cheese, soup, oatmeal and fruit snacks. The bags are given to students in need every Friday to ensure they have food to eat on the weekends and holidays.

HOPE Packs serves 18 schools in Wythe and Bland counties. Every week, approximately 900 bags are packed with food. Because the program uses double bags, that means 1,800 bags a week.

“For the first time in all the years HOPE has been sending HOPE Packs home, we are running out of gently used plastic shopping bags,” program director Mike Pugh posted online. “Anyone who has any bags, please bring them by the Open Door Cafe or HOPE. Even better is if they are doubled. We go through 68,000 bags each school year!”

Bags can be dropped off between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. weekdays.

In other HOPE Packs news, students from Jackson Elementary School recently donated more than a thousand cans of food to the program.

“It was just wonderful,” Pugh said. “We took pictures with them. They helped me load it into the car. They had smiles on their faces. They were happy. Each grade level challenged each other. In two weeks, they collected more than 1,200 cans of food.”

“The fact that you all took it upon yourselves to make sure that not only your fellow students in need, but students at 18 different schools in Wythe and Bland Counties have food to eat, is an incredible act of kindness. I know your teachers and your principal are proud, your parents are proud, we are so proud, and you all should be proud of yourselves,” Pugh told students.

To reach Millie Rothrock, call 276-228-6611, ext. 35, or email

Start your day with top headlines from our News, Sports, and Opinion pages.

* I understand and agree that registration on or use of this site constitutes agreement to its user agreement and privacy policy.

Recommended for you

(0) comments

Welcome to the discussion.

Keep it Clean. Please avoid obscene, vulgar, lewd, racist or sexually-oriented language.
Don't Threaten. Threats of harming another person will not be tolerated.
Be Truthful. Don't knowingly lie about anyone or anything.
Be Nice. No racism, sexism or any sort of -ism that is degrading to another person.
Be Proactive. Use the 'Report' link on each comment to let us know of abusive posts.
Share with Us. We'd love to hear eyewitness accounts, the history behind an article.