Backpack Program helps fill hungry children’s bellies on weekends

No child should go hungry, and Fonda-Fultonville social worker Melanie Capron needs your help to make sure of it.

Capron started a Backpack Program at the elementary school during the 2015-16 school year in partnership with the Regional Food Bank of Northeastern New York. The program provides backpacks filled with food to help meet the needs of hungry children on weekends, when other resources are not available.

To see the impact the program is having on these kids is exciting. They love picking up the backpacks and helping their families,” Capron said.

The backpacks are discreetly distributed every Friday to students enrolled in the program. Every Thursday, Capron packs backpacks with enough items for six meals for each of the students.

“We have kids who rely on free and reduced-price lunch during the week, and on the weekend, they don’t have these things,” Capron said. “I’m really proud we have this program, but I know there are more kids who need it.”

The program is funded solely by donations. The cost to fill each backpack is $6.10, or $183 per child for the entire year.

Capron said the goal is to double the program, which totals $5,500.

Community support has helped make the program successful to date. One of the most recent donations was from Montgomery County employees who raised $305 for the program through a “Jeans Day” fundraiser. “Jeans Days” are held on select Fridays for Montgomery County employees to raise money for a worthy cause. Employees can wear jeans to work, which is a deviation from the county’s dress code, with a donation of $5 requested.

Continued support is needed to maintain and expand the program. If you would like to help, donations of food, gift cards or backpacks are welcome. The wish list of accepted food items is listed below. Corporate sponsorships are also welcome.

If you have any questions or would like to learn more about the program, contact Capron at (518) 853-3332 ext. 5009.

Food wish list

  • Macaroni & cheese
  • Peanut butter & jelly (in plastic jars)
  • Canned soup
  • Single serving cereal boxes
  • Granola bars
  • Oatmeal packets
  • Juice boxes
  • Graham crackers
  • Ravioli & Spaghetti O’s
  • Chili
  • Tuna fish
  • Cracker snack packs
  • Snack-sized chips