Faith-based organization meets the physical needs of 1200 children each week.

Ed: What is the award, and who has won the award in the past?

Panos: On April 6, the Caring for Miami Backpack Program was honored with the District-Wide Exemplary Dade Partner Award for Miami-Dade County Public Schools.

Since its inception in 1978, Dade Partners has grown to more than 4,500 entities that have formed thousands of partnerships between their organizations and our schools. Together, these partners continue to share their expertise and provide our schools a multitude of resources.

A panel of 19 local community leaders served as judges in reviewing the programs in consideration of the award. Previous winners include the City of Hialeah, Baptist Health South Florida, Bank of America, The Children's Trust, Big Brothers/Big Sisters, and Florida Power and Light.

Ed: Tell me about the program they are awarding. What is Christ Fellowship doing that gets the award?

Panos: Every weekend, volunteers from Caring for Miami and Christ Fellowship feed more than 1,200 disadvantaged children from 40 Miami-Dade public schools, stretching 53 miles from North Miami down to Florida City. The Backpack Program runs on the energy of volunteers and is funded by Christ Fellowship, individual donations, and other community partnerships. Large food packing events are hosted at least once a month to package the food bags for the children. A team of over 40 dedicated volunteers hand-deliver these food packages to partner schools for the 36 weeks that they are in session.

Ed: Why should churches serve their cities like you do? Why not just preach the gospel?

Panos: The Backpack Program provides a way to reach children and families who might otherwise feel forgotten or unimportant. We use food as a tool to let them know they are valuable and …

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