Boyd’s Nest Restaurant Gives Back to the Community

By Rebecca Maynard
Last fall, Boyd’s Nest restaurant owner Kim Ragland organized a fundraiser that sent 20 flood buckets to Houston. Over Christmas, she collected diapers, wipes, toys, infant clothes, bottles, pacifiers, shampoo and more, along with $300 cash for formula for the Red Wagon ministry. Recently, as she was wondering what cause to tackle next, she woke up with the phrase Hungry Backpack going through her mind.
Knowing that spring break and other school vacation days can be difficult for students without plentiful food at home, Ragland decided to raise money for Clarke County’s Backpack Buddies program, a group of volunteers that packs food into backpacks for students to take home with them during school breaks.
As a nutritionist, she is keenly aware of the fact that students are less likely to succeed in school when they come from a home with food anxiety – not always being sure where the next meal will come from.
Ragland borrowed her granddaughter’s backpack to display with a sign suggesting a $35 donation which she figured could feed one student over spring break. Right away, generous Boyd’s Nest customers began opening their wallets.
“By the end of lunch, we had collected $155,” Ragland said. “Our customers are that way.”
Donations continued pouring in, and it really snowballed when Ragland organized a Facebook fundraiser. People from Clarke County and beyond shared the page and sent donations, and as of this writing, $2600 has been raised and more is being collected to fill the snack closets at both Clarke elementary schools.
The Backpack Buddy program is not a government program and therefore there are no criteria for qualifying. Students are given shelf stable food to eat at home, but Ragland would love to be able to expand the program to include fresh fruits and vegetables. She is in the process of talking with school counselors about the logistics of expanding the program to the middle and high school, and also helping to spread awareness of the program to those who might benefit and have not heard of it.
While the Facebook fundraiser has ended, this is just the beginning.
Ragland has had offers from a few corporations and individuals to be sustaining contributors, which she says is very exciting. Anyone interested in donating can stop by Boyd’s Nest in person or call 540-535-5252.
“We want these students to know we care about and love them,” Ragland said. “It’s important for them to know they are valued.”