Four years ago, the Missions Committee and UMW of Leavenworth UMC started a program to feed hungry school children over the weekend when they wouldn’t be receiving meals through the schools’ “Free and Reduced Lunch” program. Surprisingly, more than 50% of our Leavenworth school children qualify for this program. School counselors are asked to identify these students and inform parents that this outreach is available to them. We require permission letters from the parents to be returned to the counselors before they can receive the bags of food. In order to maintain confidentiality, only the counselors know who will be receiving the bags of food to take home every Friday in their “BackPack”. Foods are chosen based on a balanced diet of nutritious proteins, carbohydrates, and calcium-rich foods, all non-perishable and shelf-stable, even the milk. In the beginning, we were feeding nine children per week. The program has now grown to the point that we are packing 35 to 40 bags of food each week including all of the schools in the Cascade School District. Clearly, the need is great.
Each bag contains roughly $8.50 worth of groceries, meaning that we are spending in excess of $300 per week on food. We receive financial support from our church family, local service organizations and clubs, the Leavenworth Chamber of Commerce, and just this month, we won a grant from the NCW Community Foundation. Nevertheless, the continuation of this program depends on good-hearted people who care enough to step up and make a contribution. And if you are interested in helping financially, you can click HERE and scroll down to the Leavenworth United Methodist BackPack article and click on the DONATE button. Or if you prefer, you can click on the Community Foundation link on our Home Page which will take you to the same website.
You can also make a tax-deductible donation directly to us by making out a check to Leavenworth Community United Methodist Church and designating it to the BackPack Mission. You can also sponsor a child (or children) for a week or a month, based on the cost of groceries noted above. In whichever manner you choose to help, please know that one hundred percent of donations go directly to purchasing food for hungry children. Children who eat healthy food over the weekend, do better in school on Mondays. We’d love to have you join us in making that happen.