Through our Backpack Buddies program, we provide support to local school children who have been identified as needing additional food over the weekend. Each child receives a backpack filled with six meals each weekend during the school year.
In January 2012, we started providing meals for approximately 45 backpacks for Potowmack E.S. and Rolling Ridge E.S.. For the 2015-2016 school year we are currently providing meals for 208+ kids each week at the following schools:
- Potowmack E.S.
- Rolling Ridge E.S.
- Sully E.S.
- Horizion E.S.
- Algonkian, E.S.
- River Bend M.S.
- Potomac Falls H.S.
We also provided food for up to 60 children (2 bags each) each week for an 8 week period during the summer reading program at Potowmack E.S..
How You Can Help
There are a number of ways that you can help us with Backpack Buddies!
All donations are welcome, but specific needs include shelf stable milk, juice boxes, instant oatmeal packets, ramen cup-o-noodles, granola bars, and mac n' cheese single serving cups. You can bring items to church with you on Sundays, or you can drop them off at the church office during the week.
Volunteers are needed throughout the year to sort, pack, and deliver the backpacks. Opportunities are available for youth as well, including those who want to complete community service hours.
Commitment: 8-10 hours a month
When: Packing takes place on Tuesdays at 11am in the Classrooms on the Hill, except the first Tuesday of each month when packing is at 7pm.
Sponsor a Food Drive
Get your workplace or Scout troop involved! You can host a food drive requesting donations of individual sized food needed for our program. Please contact Carol Black for details. You can either deliver the food at the conclusion of your food drive, or someone from Backpack Buddies can arrange to pick up your donations.
Volunteers are needed throughout the year to help us purchase additional food to make sure our pantry is well-stocked and ready to fill those backpacks!
Commitment: Varies depending upon donations received
When: Varies depending upon donations received
For more information, please contact Carol Black
For more about Children’s Hunger in the United States, visit:
Did you know….
- 1 out of 5 children in the US struggle with hunger.
- 3 out of 4 teachers report that there are children in their classrooms who regularly come to school hungry.
- There are children in Northern Virginia whose only meals are the ones they receive at school.
In fact, in Loudoun County, the “wealthiest county in the US” as rated by Forbes, nearly 12, 000 children are “food insecure.” It is hard to imagine that in such a wealthy area there is a portion of the population that does not have the resources to adequately feed their families.
Help Lead at St. Matthew's
If you would like to join the Backpack Buddies leadership team at St. Matthew's, please email Marcia Rugen. We'd love to have you!