Weekend Backpack Program helping Scotia-Glenville families

Volunteers packing bags that will go into backpacks

Children are provided basic food staples to get them through the weekend

Volunteers packing bags that will go into backpacks
Volunteers pack items into bags that will be put into backpacks to go home with Scotia-Glenville students.

Thanks to the help of two local churches, 83 children at five Scotia-Glenville schools are receiving backpacks filled with food to get through the weekend.

Most of the students qualify for free or reduced breakfasts and lunches during the school week.

Each week, volunteers at the First Reformed Church in Scotia and Trinity Presbyterian Church in Glenville fill the backpacks that go home with 19 students at the Middle School, 8 at Glendaal, 14 at Glen-Worden, 15 at Lincoln and 27 at Sacandaga.

Volunteers selecting items to go into backpacks that are sent home with SG students
Like an assembly line, volunteers pick up fruit and other items to put into bags that go into the backpacks that students bring home each weekend,

The most recent figures show that at Scotia-Glenville, 22 percent (539 students) qualify for free breakfast and lunch and 5 percent (123 students) qualify for reduced priced breakfasts and lunches.

The application for the federal free and reduced lunch program can be found online at https://www.scotiaglenvilleschools.org/lunch-menus/ .

“We know that children are better able to learn when they come to school rested and fed,” said Superintendent Susan Swartz. “The backpack program enables us to begin to address one of those needs in a tangible manner for our families. I am so grateful for our community partnerships in providing this support.”

A typical backpack includes: two breakfast items (for example, cereal or granola bars; three entrées (for example, mac and cheese, tuna, rice, peanut butter and jelly); one loaf of bread; milk card for a gallon of milk at Stewart’s (every other week); two juice boxes; fresh fruits – apples, oranges; canned vegetables (sent once a month); two snacks (for example, cookies, popcorn, pudding, brownies).

The program has also received cards for a dozen eggs from Stewart’s that will be sent home every other week with the milk card. This would replace one of the entrées.

Many helpers make the program a success

The Northeast Regional Food Bank in Latham provides food at a greatly reduced cost, charging $189 per backpack for the year. The churches  also  use community donations to supplement the regular menu items  (breakfast bars, fruit cups, juice boxes and various snack items).

Recently, there were collections from the Scotia-Glenville District Office and through Holiday on the Avenue. That money was also used to help pay for extra items for the vacation period and for a turkey and fixings for each family.

The First Reformed Church pays for up to 30 bags and Trinity Presbyterian and Concerned For the Hungry together pay for up to 30 bags.

The program has also received a grant administered through the Schenectady Foundation to pay for up to 30 additional bags.

The Sunday school classes at First Reformed Church also purchased 25 backpacks to use for the program and the Regional Food Bank provided the remainder.