It’s her gift of organization that placed Alexander City native Jamie Dark on multiple boards of directors over the years. She is currently on the boards of the Alexander City Schools Education Foundation, Tallapoosa Christian Crisis Center and Main Street Alexander City and is president of Backpack Buddies.
“I like to be involved in the community,” Dark said. “I think we have a fabulous little town and I want to be involved and make sure we have a lot of positivity about our town.”
Dark served on the board of directors for the Sarah Towery Art Colony for 20 years and ran The Kitty Dark Kids Art Camp, named in honor of her mother-in-law, for 15 years.
“She was an artist and she believed all children should have the opportunity to express themselves through visual arts and performing arts,” Dark said.
Dark established Backpack Buddies seven years ago when she discovered children were attending school while hungry. The Backpack Buddies started with 12 children and now feeds 111 students.
Backpack Buddies works with Alexander City Schools counselors to identify which children are food insecure. The children receive food for the weekend every Friday.
The program is funded completely by private donations.
“We’ve grown where were deploying food for several schools in the Alexander City School System,” Dark said. “It’s easier to get monetary donations and buy food in bulk and buy children-friendly food.”
The group also recently delivered Christmas gifts to 29 local teenagers identified by counselors. Backpack Buddies has helped teenagers for the past four years because teenagers are too old to be on churches’ Angel Trees and do not receive anything for Christmas.
“I hate not for them to have anything,” Dark said.
Dark attended the Russell School, which was a private school for children whose parents worked for Russell.
It was because of her education she wants to help today’s children on the education foundation board, which she has been a part of for four years.
“I think our children deserve the best possible education they can get,” Dark said. “It was a phenomenal school. We had so many opportunities and advantages there.”
The Tallapoosa Christian Crisis Center is a food pantry and thrift store and helps clients in need. Dark has served on its board for seven years.
“I think that those of us who are blessed should be sharing our blessings with others,” Dark said.
Dark has served on Main Street Alexander City’s board for 11 years and thinks the group does a phenomenal job with downtown.
“I think our downtown has never looked better,” Dark said. “I think it’s a wonderful little downtown and Alexander City is a wonderful place to live.”
Dark has been inspired to volunteer by artist Sarah Towery, resident Marsha Bankston and teacher Terry Jones, who told her about hungry students in Alexander City schools.
“I really don’t think I am (an unsung hero),” Dark said. “There are so many people in this community who are willing to give of their time and resources. “
Dark hopes when she’s dead people will remember her as kind and someone who reached out to others to help them in their times of need.
“I hope that through the years I have impacted lots of young peoples’ lives so they’ll pay it forward when they can,” Dark said. “I am so humbled and so privileged people would think of me to be an unsung hero.”