By Kate Quesada

When 195 students from low income families at local elementary schools go home this Friday, they will have enough food for the weekend thanks to a foundation started by a River Hills family.

The Walker Thomas Lane Foundation was created when Angel and Tim Lane’s two year old son Walker passed away on February 20, 2013 from respiratory complications from pneumonia. The Lanes, including Walker’s twin brother Jameson and older brother Braden, decided they wanted to honor Walker by helping other children through a partnership with the established charity Blessings in a Backpack.

“There are so many children within our community that have food insecurities,” said Angel. “No child should ever be worried about when they will get their next meal, so we are helping change it.”

“Since starting our initiatives, we have received an amazing amount of support, monetary donations and food from local businesses, our church and individuals that have an amazing heart,” said Angel. “Our village of people are helping make a difference in a child’s life. Living generously is an amazing thing.”

Currently, the Lane’s foundation is helping children at four local elementary schools and has also stocked an in-school food pantry at Armwood High School.

One of the schools that receives food every weekend for it’s students is Ippolito Elementary in Riverview. The school’s social worker Angela Weck believes that the donations are life changing for the students who receive them.

“The program is really filling a gap and impacting families here in our community,” said Weck, who explained that more than 80 percent of the students at the school qualify for free or reduced lunches.

The Walker Thomas Lane Foundation is making it easy for residents to help. Food can be dropped off at various locations around the community and this month, Osprey Observer offices at 918 Lithia Pinecrest Rd. is acting as a drop off point for non-perishable food items such as canned foods and soups, mac and cheese boxes, Ramen Noodles, canned fruits and fruit cups, soft granola bars, individual oatmeal packs and pudding cups. They request no peanut products, please.

For more information on Blessings in a Backpack, visit www.blessingsinabackpack.org. The Lanes can be reached at 654-7307.