What is the BackPack Program?
The Backpack Program, serves 130 elementary, middle school, and high school children in 3 schools in Monongalia County. Other schools are served by other agencies and churches. There are no requirements for our program and any child that wants a backpack may receive a nutritious and child-friendly bag filled with food for weekends during the school year. We try to assess the weight of each bag packing a little more for the older students since they can carry more. The premise behind the program is that there are school children who do not get enough food outside of school as food may be scarce at home due to varied economic reasons. Many children do not get much to eat after lunchtime on Fridays until breakfast at school on Mondays.
This volunteer-driven program is often packed during FAMILY NIGHTS at our pantry led by Lindsay Weglinski. She gathers families and their kids, Girl Scout troops, play groups, and any other group with kids to pack the bags each week. We also pack vegetarian bags for any student that requests one. If you would like to volunter, please reach out to us at firstname.lastname@example.org. If you would like to donate to this program specifically, please go to the donate button on the front page.
What kind of food do the kids receive?
The bags are filled with child-friendly, mostly shelf-stable/non-perishable, and easily consumable food and are pre-packed by volunteers in plastic bags. When we have more stable kid friendly perishable foods like apples, carrots, or tangerines, we include those. Utmost care is given in selecting nutritious food items. Participants receive enough food for 4 meals which include 100% fruit juices, shelf stable milk, cereal, fruit cups, protein entrees, and healthy snacks, fruit and grain bars, raisins, and various other snacks items. Every bag contains two entrees, two cereals, two juice boxes, two shelf stable milks, two fruit cups/fruit, and three snacks. Distribution is handled discreetly by school staff to maintain confidentiality- the bags are the perfect size to fit into an elementary school student’s backpack!