BackPack Program volunteers packed for over 900 students each week in 2021.
What is the BackPack Program?
The Backpack Program, a nationwide program of Feeding America, serves over 900 elementary and middle school children in 10 school districts throughout Mercer County. Eligible children deemed to be chronically hungry receive nutritious and child-friendly food for weekends during the school year. 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. Some children do not get much to eat after lunchtime on Fridays until breakfast at school on Mondays.
This volunteer-driven program boasts a volunteer base of over 200 who pack and deliver food bags and fundraise for their respective school district. Some school districts pack at the food bank and others at sites closer to their schools. A child can be sponsored for $248 per school year.
What kind of food do the kids receive?
The bags are filled with child-friendly, shelf-stable/non-perishable, and easily consumable food and are pre-packed by volunteers in plastic bags. 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 such as fresh fruit (when available), 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!
Which schools in Mercer County participate in the program?
Farrell, Sharon, Sharpsville, and Reynolds pack their bags right here in the Warehouse. Commodore Perry, Greenville, Jamestown, Lakeview, West Middlesex, and Wilmington all pack off-site, and are also a part of our BackPack Program.
How can I help?
Without the support of our local churches, generous donations of time, and financial support from members of our community, we would not be able to run the BackPack Program. Currently, it costs $248 per child for the entire school year. This provides food to the child for 36-40 weekends throughout the school year. Any donation made by an individual or civic or religious organization is ONLY used to purchase food for the program. This program only accepts donations of time or financial support.
If you are interested in donating your time to pack, or if you or your organization would like to sponsor children for the BackPack program, please contact:
Interim CSFP/BackPack Coordinator
109 S. Sharpsville Ave., Suite A
Sharon, PA 16146
If you or your organization is interested in sponsoring a child/children in the program, please make checks payable to: "CFWMC BP" and mail to:
Community Food Warehouse of Mercer County
109 S. Sharpsville Ave, Suit A
Sharon, PA 16146
To learn more about how to donate to one specific school's BackPack Program, click here.