Karen Seggi, Executive Director of Second Harvest Food Bank recently visited Warren to establish the Second Harvest Back Pack Fund at the Community Foundation of Warren County. According to Seggi, “Interest in supporting the Back Pack Program in the Warren County School District continues to grow every year. Creating this fund will provide a place where people who want to invest in the long-term growth of the program can make donations.”
“So many children in Warren County have benefited from the Back Pack Program,” noted John Lasher, Executive Director of the Community Foundation of Warren County. “We are pleased that Second Harvest is taking this step to help bring greater visibility to the program and to help insure its long-term health.”
Contributions to the fund are invested for long-term growth. The income from the investments is one of the sources of revenue available to provide a portion of the program’s annual budget. “Direct support of the program as well as contributions to the fund are both necessary to insure long-term success of this effort in Warren County. There is immediate need and we have a number of fund raising efforts around that,” Seggi commented. “This program is also part of our long-term strategy to serve children and families in need. The growth of the fund will help sustain that effort over the years.”
Since its inception the Back Pack Program has provided over 53,000 meals for students in grades K thru 5. Each back pack contains nutritious meals and snacks for the weekend for the student, plus items to share with the family. The back packs are provided discretely to students receiving free or reduced lunch. “The extra items allow each student to contribute to his or her family. We feel that is an important feature of the program, building a sense of responsibility and self-esteem in each individual.”
Second Harvest delivers pallets of food to the former Allegheny Valley School in Clarendon, where the back packs are assembled. In previous years each school in the District took a turn packing the items, with volunteers from the Retired Teachers Association and the community helping. This year Second Harvest held an event to pack all the back packs for the first semester of school in one day. A similar program in January packed all the backpacks needed for the second semester. This event included a competition between local service clubs to see which club could pack the fastest.
This year Second Harvest plans to launch a special program, the Holiday Back Pack Program to provide extra meals and snacks at Thanksgiving, Christmas, and Easter for students in grades K thru 5.
“The Community Foundation is proud to provide a way for Second Harvest to prepare for the long term needs of the Back Pack Program,” Lasher commented. “This fund and others like it at the Foundation are designed to help young people of Warren County who are living with need. Efforts such as this are so important to improving the quality of life for Warren County’s young people.”
For more information about the Back Pack Program, or Second Harvest visit NWPAFoodBank.org.