SGASD Fights Hunger with Weekend Backpack Program

    The Spring Grove Area School District’s Backpack Program provides weekend meals for student families in need. The program has grown since its inception in 2015 from servicing twenty students in the 2015-16 school year to now assisting approximately one hundred students every week.

    No Kid Hungry states that, “More than thirteen million children in the United States live in food-insecure homes.” Hunger can have a negative impact on a child’s performance in school and their overall health. “Children facing hunger are more likely to repeat a grade in elementary school, experience developmental impairments in areas like language and motor skills, and have more social and behavioral problems,” according to Feeding America.

    Spring Grove Area Middle School counselor, Teresa Weaver, began the Backpack Program to address student hunger and help families in the District. In doing so, she’s also helping to further the District’s mission of providing a learning environment where every student can attain their full potential. Knowing the Backpack Program is available, students can focus on learning instead of worrying about their next meal.

    Weekly, two volunteers from Paradise Lutheran Church plan the menus and organize the food items. Students from the middle and high schools get involved by helping to pack the bags to be delivered to each of the schools and distributed to the recipients.

    Each year, Mrs. Weaver applies for a grant from the Central Pennsylvania Food Bank, where all of the food is ordered on a bi-weekly basis. This year, the program also received a generous donation from the Sacred Heart Parish and another from St. Paul Lutheran Church of Spring Grove. Mrs. Weaver states, "I am very passionate about the Backpack Program as I feel it helps so many families. My hope is that with the community’s help, we can continue this program every year."

    If interested in making a monetary donation to the Backpack Program, please contact Teresa Weaver at (717) 225-4731 ext. 6071 or by email at weavert@sgasd.org. All checks should be made payable to the SGASD/Weekend BackPack Program and sent to the Educational Service Center attention Suzanne Sterner.

     Volunteers delivering food

     Volunteers stocking food

    Volunteers delivering and stocking food at the Middle School