Grants help expand weekend food program for students in need

The Fonda-Fultonville Central School District recently received some well-timed grants to support its weekend food distribution program for students in need.

The district received grants totaling $1,000 from Stewart’s Holiday Match Program, and $2,405 from the International Paper Company, respectively.

During the school year, the district provides backpacks filled with food to help meet the needs of hungry children on weekends, when other resources are not available. These grants will allow the district to increase the number of students who participate in the program.

“The COVID-19 public health situation has created far-reaching economic hardships for families. Our weekend backpack program is more important now than ever to help minimize the impact of those hardships,” Superintendent of Schools Thomas Ciaccio said. “We are sincerely grateful to Stewart’s and the International Paper Company for their support of this very important initiative.”

From the time FFCS school buildings were closed in mid-March through the end of the school year in June, FFCS served more than 10,000 meals to school families through its weekday grab-and-go food service program. Families who receive free and reduced-price meals may not necessarily have access to other resources on the weekends, so the backpack program helps fulfill that need.

The backpack program is entirely funded by donations. The goal of the program is to provide children with enough nutritious food to have breakfast, lunch, and a snack each day over the weekend. Students pick up their backpacks each Friday and return it on Monday to be refilled for the following week.

“I’m really proud we have this program, but I know there are more students who need it,” Social Worker Melanie Capron said. “These generous grants will help us expand the program at a crucial time.”