Knox backpack program surges!

Donors push Knox backpack funds past goal – program may expand to feed more kids

DSC_0035smallBW(photo I took for Knoxadoptabackpack.org. The kids – I forget their names – are from Rockland Middle School and volunteered for the shoot)

Really a quick post: the Adopt-a-backpack program for Knox County has easily passed its goal of raising $45,000 to feed 200 food-insecure kids in Rockland Middle and South Elementary schools for some 37 weekends throughout the school year. Kids are now going home Fridays with five weekend meals in their backpacks, thanks to donors large and small all over the county, as well as a small army of volunteers delivering food to the schools and distributing them to the kids’ backpacks.

Spearheading the program is Sherry Cobb, director of AIO’s Food Pantry in Rockland, who told me what the extra funds mean —

  • Increasing the number of children sooner, possibly by adding children in the first two schools, or by adding another school, or both.
  • Being in a stronger position to continue sending home weekend food in the school year after this one.  All backpack donations are in a designated account for ending childhood hunger in Knox County, apart from AIO’s other mission to feed hungry families of all ages.  The money people give to feed children will feed children.

Sherry cites significant donations from Camden Rotary, Bangor Savings Bank, the Talbot Home Fund, The Congregational Church (Heavenly Threads), Cruise Industry Charitable Foundation, and Matching Grant donors Evan and Tracy Segal and Jeremy and Charlotte Fletcher. Many other individuals and groups made substantial donations.

Nice work, everybody, and obviously donations are still welcome so that more hungry kids in other towns in the county can be helped!

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What Martin Milner meant to us (Boomer teens)

Milner66George Maharis and Martin Milner in their Corvette – Route 66 publicity still

A few months ago I came that close (thumb and forefinger a millimeter apart) to calling up Martin Milner at his home in Carlsbad, California, where he was spending his retirement cultivating avocados and walnuts. Somehow, his address and phone number were published online. No idea how or why. Well, I got cold feet, missed my chance, and Milner died last week at the age of 83 (his costar George Maharis is still with us, at age 87, and has become an impressionist painter).

I wanted to ask him one large question: What do you think Route 66’s impact has been on the Baby Boomer generation – especially males – who were teenagers during the show’s run from 1960 to 1964?

In other words, what could possibly be wrong with hitting the road after college and traveling the country with no particular destination in mind – a la Jack Kerouac?

Milner played Tod Stiles, the preppy rich kid, a Yale grad and Corvette owner. Maharis was Buz Murdock, undereducated, street smart, tough. Together they cruised in an out of a range of dramas and difficult situations in 25 different states, invariably helping resolve things for the better. They dealt with a smorgasbord of issues that were ahead of their time for the period – social injustice, racism, corporate greed, oppression, mental illness, disability, abuse of power – in stories conceived and written mostly by the brilliant and gutsy writer-producer Sterling Silliphant. It was one of the early “buddy” series, and one of the few television dramas ever to be shot entirely on location.

So what did it mean to us teenage boomers?

(Route 66 opening theme by Nelson Riddle, above. There’s an opening annoying ad before it – I couldn’t get rid of it – sorry!)

For me, a total Route 66 addict in the ’60s, it meant humming the show’s theme song during many a road trip. It meant escape from the humdrum, the congested northeast, finding big skies and empty prairie and meeting people all over the country, and not denying the itch to get up and go somewhere. Ultimately, it’s led to the birth of this blog almost two years ago.

Thanks, Martin, for your inspiration. Sorry I didn’t give you call.

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(Some years ago I bought the entire series on DVDs – very poor quality, recorded off air. Now, I believe, all 116 episodes are available on YouTube and elsewhere for free).

Ned White

About Ned White

Ned White is a writer, novelist, crossword puzzle constructor, humorist, traveler through 49 states, and at times a danger in the kitchen. He lives with his wife in South Thomaston.