The Backpack Program

By: Rachel Calderon
By: Rachel Calderon

While school districts continue to offer meals at breakfast and lunch for students in financial need, a recent study by America's Second Harvest, found those same kids go hungry on the weekends when food assistance isn't provided.

Dave Karr at the American Red Cross distribution center heads the backpack program, which provides students in financial need in the Lansing area with a bag of kid-friendly food so their weekends are hunger free.

"The kids are selected, they are not singled-out so no one knows they are a kid in need. The bag is re-filled on Fridays, and at the end of the rotation, they get to keep the backpack," said Karr.

The Red Cross has a lot of help to make sure the bags get stuffed. Several area grocers donate the food, while General Motors lends some of their employees to mentor students.

"We first started out as a tutor, but we've expanded our roles as mentors to the students and help them become more successful in school," Brian Hagerson, UAW-GM project team coordinator.

The backpack program served 600 students in its first year and for the second year the goal is much higher. They hope to serve 3,000 students this year,

For more information, call the American Red Cross Distribution Center at 321-6807


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