LIFE Blessings in a Backpack sent 280 children home with food

LAWRENCE CO. – In their quarterly report the Lawrence County Extension office updated the Lawrence County Council on various community projects the agency has completed.

Lawrence County Extension, Director Lesley Lodmell, talked about the LIFE Blessings in a Backpack program that in 2021 helped bring food home to more than 280 children at Burris and Hatfield Elementary Schools.

This was thanks to a Lawrence County Community Foundation grant awarded in the summer of 2020, but due to COVID-19 restrictions, the grant money was not able to be used until January of 2021.

Farmers To Families

The USDA Farmers to Families Food Box program began during the pandemic to help farmers distribute produce and to help those in need to get access to fresh produce, dairy, and meat.

In February, boxes began being distributed in Mitchell.

Pam Tedrow with Jacob Finger United Ministries and Toya Lamm with Living Well Home Care Services, and the Society of St. Andrew worked with the Community Wellness Committee in distributing the boxes.

The boxes have been distributed every Friday since February 5th and will continue until the end of May.


  • 5,655 food boxes were distributed from February-March – the equivalent of 169,650 pounds of food.
  • 40 produce boxes were distributed to Cambridge Square using grant funding provided by Glick Philanthropies ($48/per person)
  • A $500 grant was award by United Way for the Healthy Families & Nutrition Education Program collaboration on classes taught by NEPA

There are several partners in the Community Wellness programs which include Mitchell Community Schools, Living Well Home Care Services, Jacob Finger United Ministries, Cambridge Square (Bedford), IU Health Bedford Hospital, Healthy Families, and Ascension St. Vincent Dunn

CATCH My Breath

According to the 2018 Indiana Youth Tobacco Survey, e-cigarette use has increased by more than 350 percent among high school and middle school students since 2012, and between 2016 and 2018, nearly 35,000 more Indiana students used e-cigarettes.

The former U.S. Surgeon General, Jerome Adams labeled the rising use of e-cigarettes among youth as an epidemic and has called for adults to take action to protect youth from the dangers of nicotine addiction.

With such a steep rise in youth e-cigarette use, parents, teachers, and students continue to need education on e-cigarettes.

In Spring of 2021, the Health and Human Science Extension Educator Sarah Richer offered the CATCH My Breath program for the second consecutive year at Mitchell Jr. High for the 6th-grade class.

Richer said students were very responsive to the educational e-cigarette prevention program.

In March and April, 24 sessions and 18 hours of education were offered to students.

“One of the highlights of the practice refusal skills and exit strategies. These are skills students will be able to utilize if they are ever in a peer pressure situation,” Richer added.

The Purdue Extension Lawrence County administered 79 sessions with a total of 2,068 participants in events and programs from January to March.

To find out more about many events and programs offered go to