When more than 200 local students head home for fall break this year, they will leave school with a backpack filled with food and a book.

For the past two years, children from families in need have had a backpack stuffed with food to take home with them on weekends and on long breaks through the Hunger Heroes program. This year, Johnson County Public Library is also getting involved in the effort.

The idea came to Amy Dalton, adult services librarian at the White River Township branch, while she was running in the annual Hunger Heroes 5K run, the only fundraiser that supports the effort to send children home with food. Dalton was wondering what the library could do with book donations that aren’t shelved or placed in a book sale.

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She had the idea to make sure each child being helped through Hunger Heroes got a book over fall break.

The backpacks of food are meant for families and typically have enough food to make meals for the whole family, said Sara Fisk, an organizer of Hunger Heroes.

Dalton wanted to provide each child with something of their own, she said.

“I thought that if they had something that was just for them, that would be really nice,” she said.

Between Clark-Pleasant and Franklin school districts, 216 children are expected to get food and a book. Hunger Heroes typically raises enough money to get Franklin students food through their 5K and raised enough to feed 250 kids. Not all will get a backpack; some food will be donated to the Cub Pantry, the school district’s food pantry, Fisk said.

Books that will be placed in the backpacks are all donated. The library has a constant stream of book donations they pull from, Dalton said. Donated books are typically put into the library’s inventory or sold in annual book sales the library hosts. Now, some of the children’s books will be put into the backpacks, Dalton said. Chick-Fil-A in the Center Grove area donated 100 books, Dalton said.

The book will allow the students to get something else that they could use over break, Dalton said.

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Magen Kritsch is an editorial assistant at the Daily Journal. She can be reached at mkritsch@dailyjournal.net or 317-736-2770.