Rowan Elementary School - Pandemic Partnership Response

Rowan Elementary School along with Cross Point Community Church set out to establish a partnership that would address the basic needs of the students. This ministry began in 2013. When the would-be, assistant principal met with the members of the CrossPoint Community Church they established a ministry called the backpack buddies. Backpack buddies focused on nourishing the student by placing food packages in their book bags every Friday to cover the nutritional needs of the student across the weekend. The CrossPoint Community Church realized that often schools provide so much more than an educational setting. For many of the students, it is the main source of their daily nourishment. Therefore, when those students are not at school their needs are not being met. This project set out to close the gap in many other ways as well.

CrossPoint Community Church functions as the sole proprietor of this project. No cost is ensued by the school nor the students. CrossPoint Community Church has partnered with Rowan Elementary, to help meet the needs of their students through a program called backpack buddies. The goal of our ministry is to help individuals and families in their time of need. This program provides food to students that are not able to eat over the weekends while away from school. Backpack buddies place nonperishable food items in their backpacks on Fridays that keeps them fed throughout the weekends. While we do want to meet a physical need, our goal is to demonstrate our love for people. We do this by providing for them, while proactively developing a relationship with them so that we can reach deeper and minister to their spiritual needs. We believe that the greatest example of such love was provided to us all in Jesus Christ, who joyfully loved people. Jesus tells us in John 6:48, "I am the bread of life," and in John 10:10, He states that He came that we "may have life and have it abundantly." We hope that through this ministry the individuals we come in contact with will experience true love and have a fuller life.

CrossPoint started working with Rowan Elementary in 2013. The funds for this program are strictly and joyfully by the donation from members within our church. We feed 70+ kids every Friday during the school year. During the summer months, we have also partnered with Merchants Food Company to provide healthy meals to the children of needy families. At Thanksgiving and Christmas this year we were able to donate 210 large boxes of food as well as 50 microwaves and 70 blankets. During the eight years of supporting the wonderful administration, faculty, and children at Rowan we feel like we have been greatly blessed to enjoy this ministry!

Rowan Elementary School is 1 of 9 elementary schools located in the Harrisburg Public School District. Rowan is located on Martin Luther King Drive in downtown Hattiesburg. This is one of the lower socioeconomic areas in the city. The average income of parents in this area is below $20000 per year. Rowan Elementary School is steeped in vibrant and rich history. Named for the former Alcorn State University president and prominent black educator Dr. Levi J. Rowan, the high school opened in 1951 as Royal Street High School, then in the mid-1950's it was renamed for Dr. L. J. Rowan. The school was completely segregated, underfunded, and often altogether overlooked. The school motto spoke loudly and proudly for the students of the school; “Yesterday is Past; Tomorrow is Ahead; Only Today is Ours.” To the students of Rowan embody the motto; “Today's learners, are Tomorrow's Leaders”. Rowan currently serves a student population of 355 which is compiled of preschool through 5th-grade students. 99% of the student population is African American. All students receive breakfast and lunch at no cost due to the USDA Community Eligibility Provision Fund.

Community Partners:
CrossPoint Community Church