Atmos Energy donated $2 million during September’s Hunger Action Month through its Fueling Safe and Thriving Communities program.

Donations went to hundreds of local school districts, food banks and other essential organizations that provide the breakfasts, lunches, snacks and healthy meals that all children need to grow, develop and succeed.

Locally, the Caldwell County Extension Office received $4,000 to go toward the Feeding God’s Children Backpack Program.

“The Backpack Program has been in our county since January 2010,” said program coordinator XXX. “It is designed for children to receive kid-friendly food items each week to take home for the weekend for them to have until they come back to school on Monday to help them get by with some kind of food.

“We are very thankful and very appreciative to get this support. I think it is a fantastic donation, but I am also tickled if we just receive a dollar, because every little bit helps. But, I am appreciative that they chose us to receive this donation.”

An estimated 18 million children face hunger nationwide, and food insecurity has increased since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Hunger affects children in every community we serve,” said Kevin Akers, Atmos Energy president and CEO.

“Our kids are starting school on an empty stomach, which impacts their ability to focus and learn.

“Atmos Energy made this contribution to support local food programs in the 1,400 communities we serve so hungry children get the food they need before, during, and after the school day and on weekends and holidays as well.