Backpack program garners $1,700Published 10:30pm Tuesday, May 1, 2012
Dowagiac Elks Club wants to help feed area students who may not otherwise get regular meals over the weekend.
On Tuesday, members of the Elks Club 889 donated a $1,700 check to the backpack program, which provides two days’ worth of meals in a backpack to eligible students who have met criteria stating they might not be receiving enough meals outside of school during the weekends.
Dowagiac Schools, in conjunction with Pokagon United Methodist Church, kicked off the program at the start of the 2011-2012 academic year.
“The Elks want to help,” Megan Johnson, a spokesperson from the Elks Club, said.
Patrick Hamilton Elementary School was the first school selected for the program. Twenty-five students were chosen to receive the first round of backpacks, providing kid-friendly and nutritious meals for Saturday and Sunday. Pokagon United Methodist Church jumped on board through the contributions of their parishioners, having the church’s youth group pack the backpacks and deliver them to the school Friday. Students have since been taking the backpacks home and returning them to school each Monday.
Because of the program’s success, Dowagiac Schools extended the program to other elementary schools with students who would benefit.
Jay Brackensick, Sodexo Food Service director, organized a group of school members to get others on board. Zeta Chi Sorority/Ridge
Napa donated $1,500 to the cause that was given by a local fire department during its annual food drive. Dowagiac Middle School also held a food drive, making it a contest between the classes to help gather food items for the backpacks. Local churches also have joined the effort, donating money.
Beyond the $1,700 check donation, the Elks Club has offered to host a charity golf outing to raise more money for the program. The outing is slated to take place on June 2 at the Elks Golf Course. Tickets can be purchased at the Elks Lodge on Riverside and Hill streets in Dowagiac.
Currently, the cost to maintain the backpacks for the 35 students receiving them is $200. For donations or more information, call Jay Brackensick at (269) 782-4446 or Lissa McIntosh-Carter at (269) 782-4440.