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BackPack Pals Bridges the Hunger Gap

Program provides much-needed weekend food to SOMA children.


At-risk schoolchildren in South Orange and Maplewood benefit from the district's free breakfast and lunch programs.

But those same children may face the prospect of a weekend without food.

To bridge that hunger gap,  provides weekend meals for children in need who attend SOMA schools. Volunteers assemble packs of kid-friendly, shelf-stable food such as canned pasta meals, fruit cups, boxed milk and cereal bars, and place them directly into students' backpacks on Friday afternoons or before school holidays..

Last year, the program delivered 1,036 packs of food to local children.

To identify children who would benefit from the program, organizers David Wagner and Chris Dickson work closely with The  and the district's social workers.

"I met with all the school's social workers last week," said Wagner, "and they will be contacting me soon to let me know the number of children in their schools that could benefit from our program," said Wagner. "We are always looking for volunteers," he added.  

Planning to attend ? Bring along a box of breakfast or cereal bars for BackPack Pals.

To contribute to the program or to volunteer, contact David Wagner at (201) 563-7858. Learn more at www.rentpartylive.com.

Maplewood Joey September 14, 2012 at 05:40 PM
"Weekend without food"??? Doesn't everyone know by now that obesity if by far the larger problem in America...In fact obesity is a larger problem in poorer neighborhoods than middle class and wealthy.
esiders September 14, 2012 at 06:17 PM
Obesity is a problem in less affluent neighborhoods due to POOR FOOD OPTIONS, not because there's an abundance of food being eaten. It's better for people to eat a canned pasta meal than a $5 fried food and supersized sugery drink meal from Burger King. This program is an attempt to get better food options to our neighbors who are struggling to put food on the table. Great job Rent Party BackPack Pals!


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