By Joseph Slacian
WABASH, Ind. – A major change is taking place in Wabash’s Blessings in a Backpack program.
Founder and program coordinator Jenny Wilson is resigning her position at the end of this school year. She will be replaced by Megan Henderson, whom she introduced to the volunteers.
Wilson made the announcement during a sometimes emotional address during a dinner to honor those who have volunteered or have supported the program in its first seven years of existence.
Blessings in a Backpack provide food on the weekends for elementary school children across America who might otherwise go hungry.
Wilson spoke about the program and how it began. She learned about it while reading a magazine article on an airplane, and decided to see if it would work in Wabash.
She also praised the many volunteers who have helped with the program the last seven years, and thanked her family for all the support it has shown her during that time, as well.
“With everything in life there is a season, and my season with Blessings in a Backpack has come to a close,” she said. “For the last couple of years, I have always felt that I couldn’t do this the way I wanted to do it. I want to be able to invest more time than I have, and run it the way it should be run.
“But I always said I won’t stop and let the program die. I won’t do that.”
She said she had an idea about who would be a perfect replacement, and broached the idea with Henderson during a chance meeting at Kroger.
Henderson, according to Wilson, said she would think about it and call her.
“She did,” Wilson said. “She said the time was perfect for her, and she was looking for a purpose in her life.”
Wilson told the volunteers that Henderson has “energy and ideas” to help better the program.
“Jenny has filled me in on a lot of things, and I’m excited to take over,” Henderson said. “She assured me this is a well run machine. I’ve worked alongside most of you, and what you do is amazing.”
Henderson said she’s heard from some critics that many of the kids who receive help don’t need help from the program.
“But for every ten kids that don’t need help, there’s going to be one that does,” she said. “And that’s why we do it.”
Henderson said she plans to increase the group’s presence on social media, and has some fundraising ideas she is considering.
Wilson later told The Paper of Wabash County that she was contemplating stepping down for about two years.
She has no immediate plans, but noted that she will continue to serve on the Blessings’ board of directors.