Hillsmere Elementary School has started a Backpack Buddies program to help children who routinely show up to school hungry.
More than 140 students at Hillsmere Elementary qualify for free or reduced-price school meals. Monday through Friday they get breakfast and lunch in the cafeteria, but over the weekend they sometimes don’t get enough to eat, according to a release.
So parents and staff at the school launched the Backpack Buddies program, modeled after similar programs at other area schools. The idea is to provide easy-to-prepare weekend meals for needy students.
Each week, volunteers will fill backpacks with food items based on a set menu, according on the release.
On Friday, participating students will take home a food backpack and return it empty to the school office Monday to be refilled for the next week.
The program is paid for completely by donations, according to a release.
If you’d like to help, you can donate money or food to the program. Checks should be made to Hillsmere Elementary School—with the notation “backpack buddies.” All money collected will be used to buy food.
Food donations also are needed. Items must be easy to prepare, so the students can feed themselves.
Here’s a list of some items that are needed:
- Individual bowls or boxes of cereal.
- Instant oatmeal packages.
- Breakfast bars.
- Small cans of pasta.
- Packages/cans of tuna or chicken.
- Easy Mac and Cheese (individual servings).
- Sleeves of crackers (saltines, Ritz or graham).
- Individual packages of fruit, gelatin, applesauce or pudding.
- Microwavable soups.
- Individual packages of cheese or peanut butter crackers.
- Juice boxes.
Items can be dropped off at the school at 3052 Arundel on the Bay Rd. or left with a program volunteer.
If you any questions or would like some information, email HESBackpackBuddies@gmail.com or leave a message for the Backpack Buddies volunteers at the school by calling 410-222-1622.