Blessings in a Backpack
More than 200 Dearborn Public Schools students get extra food each weekend thanks to donations and dozens of volunteers working for Blessings in a Backpack - Dearborn. The food is stored at Christ Church, with additional space provided for volunteer groups to pack the backpacks each week.
Parishioner Chris Burkhalter is the program coordinator, scheduling the weekly packing and helping to organize the food delivery and storage. The menu varies by week, but a typical backpack of food includes granola bars, a fruit cup, instant oatmeal, canned tuna, canned soup and a box of macaroni and cheese. Items are kid-friendly, easy to prepare, and have long shelf lives.
The bags go home each Friday with “kids who may not have food stability in their home,” Burkhalter said. “We find they come to school on Monday ready to learn.”
For the 2019-2020 school year, Blessings will distribute approximately 220 bags each week to elementary students at Long, McDonald, Nowlin, River Oaks, Whitmore-Bolles and William Ford Elementary schools. It costs about $90 per year to feed a child on weekends througout the school year.
The group buys the food at discount from Meijer, and also holds donation drives for items like jars of peanut butter that enhance the allotment, especially over a holiday break. Dedicated volunteers pick up the grocery deliveries, unbox and set up the items for packing, and pack backpacks with food. Bags are packed on a weekly basis through the school year, and discreetly distributed to students at their schools.
The program enjoys the support of numerous volunteers from around the Dearborn community, and works in close collaboration with Dearborn-area churches, religious institutions, PTAs, service clubs, scout troops, and community groups, as well as with the school teachers and staff. The program is supported by donations and local fundraising events, as well as by grants from organizations such as the Diocese of Michigan Social Services Ministries, Meijer, Kroger, Thrivent, Northwestern University, The Walmart Foundation, the Dale Jr. Foundation.
News and updates on Blessings in a Backpack activities in Dearborn can be found on the program's Facebook page by clicking on this Facebook icon:
You can make a donation to support our program by contacting the Christ Church office, or by following this link