05/21/12 Twenty-four Menominee Elementary School students in need are not without food over the weekends during the school-year as a result of Blessings in a Backpack.

After successfully completing the “6 month pilot program” Chris Garner and Ellen Stillson want to get the word out about this program that sends a backpack home with students on Friday that has two breakfasts, two snacks and two lunches for the students to eat.

  The women were shocked to learn that 60 percent of the children in Menominee could qualify for the program although funding is the issue.  It takes an $80 donation to provide a backpack to a child in need for the entire school year.

“The ‘Blessings in a Backpack’ program has had an overwhelmingly positive impact on the lives of the children at Menominee Elementary School,” stated Mrs. Garner.  “For so many reasons the students look forward to getting their backpacks for the weekend. They feel proud that it is their very own and I know in my heart that it brightens their lives.”

Each week the two ladies volunteer to stuff backpacks with cans of soup, raisins, juice boxes, granola bars, and noodles for 24 students at Menominee Elementary.  Students take the backpacks home on Friday and return them the following week to be stuffed again.

“Knowing that all of our children have additional food over the weekend is comforting,” said Mike Dunn, principal of Menominee Elementary School.  “’Blessings in a Backpack’ has truly been a blessing for our children.”

    The program provides the backpacks to the school and four weeks of menus.  The ladies shop once a month and purchase the food items from the provided menus that tend to be easy to prepare by the children.   Every Friday morning they pack the backpacks and then deliver them to the students.

Stillson and Garner took on the challenge of soliciting funding last fall from friends, teachers, family members and church members but now that they have passed the 6 month time frame they are hoping to secure some sponsorships from businesses and industries along with private individuals who are willing to help provide food on the weekends to the students who are the neediest in the school.

If you are interested in providing assistance to Blessings in a Backpack at Menominee Elementary you can leave funds at the school, contact Chris Garner or Ellen Stillson or donate online noting your school of choice.