NHS Gives Back(pack)


Morgan Moomey, Co-Editor-in-Chief

According to feedingamerica.org, the Backpack Program is a national program that “offers families free groceries for weekends and school breaks. Food backpacks include healthy, easy-to-prepare food for kid-friendly meals.” These bags are packed full of nonperishable foods that are also allergy-safe if necessary. 

Every week, a group of volunteers pack these nonperishable food items into a bag that is handed out to the students who are in the program on Fridays (or the last day of the school week), that way they have food for the weekends when the school can’t provide free breakfast and lunch. Included with the food items are monthly jars of peanut butter and jelly, along with vouchers for a fresh gallon of milk or powdered milk. 

The Backpack Program has about 50 regular volunteers throughout the community. Some of these volunteers pack the bags, while others deliver them to the schools. Throughout the month of March, the Newberry-Pate Chapter of National Honor Society has stepped in to help pack the bags that are handed out to the students, giving the regular packing volunteers a well-deserved break, as well as giving NHS an opportunity to give back to the community. Throughout the month on Mondays at five, a group of National Honor Society members meet at St. Matthew’s Episcopal Church to pack the bags and restock the items that were packed. With the number of volunteers that come each Monday night, the entire process takes less than an hour. 

With over half of the students enrolled in Alliance Public Schools qualifying for free/reduced lunch, it is essential that programs like this continue to grow in our community. The Backpack Program is completely nonprofit and all of its supplies are funded by grants or by other groups that provide donations. Without this program, many APS students wouldn’t have a sustainable amount of nutritious food to make it through the weekend. And without volunteers, these programs wouldn’t be successful. Programs like the Backpack Program need support from the local community to continue to thrive.