Project Backpack New London
Contact: Cheryl Hoffman
Project Backpack New London is a community effort to meet a community need. This effort, launched in late 2012 has as its mission eliminating hunger in area schools one student at a time.
Project Backpack New London is a program where each Friday afternoon, or the last day of the school week, participating school children receive a backpack filled with healthy food and snacks. On Monday, or the first day of the school week, the child returns the empty backpack to their school to be restocked with food for the following Friday. Each backpack contains enough food for two light breakfasts, two lunches, and two dinners, as well as a number of snacks to see the child through a weekend. For longer weekends due to school vacations, additional items are added to the backpacks. This program is available to students during the school year.
The rationale behind the program is that in today’s difficult economic times, an increasing number of parents are finding it hard to provide sufficient food for their families. Although free or reduced breakfast and lunches have helped relieve some of this burden, many children still go hungry during the weekends away from school.
Teachers, guidance counselors, and school social workers identify possible participants, and then parents are invited by letter to participate in the program. A strict level of confidentiality is ensured with the names of the participants known to only a very small select number of school employees.
The Project Backpack New London program would like to thank the School District of New London whose cooperation made this new project possible and also special thanks go out to the staff and volunteers of Project Backpack Waupaca who provided valuable assistance in the early stages of the development for Project Backpack.
The program is in constant need of volunteers as it has recently doubled the number of participants. Areas in which volunteers are needed include packing backpacks, delivering backpacks to schools and picking up returned backpacks from the schools, purchasing groceries and supplies, stocking shelves, packaging bulk food items into individual portions, and providing needed funds and resources.
If any businesses, service organizations, and/or individuals would like to become involved in this growing program or for more information about this program, please contact Cheryl at (920) 841-0879. Our contact address is Project Backpack New London, 1826 Pershing Rd, New London, Wisconsin 54961. Also, we have a Facebook page, Project Backpack New London for you to visit, like, and share!