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Fighting Hunger Via The Back Pack Express ‘About Town’

‘Rent Party’ launches an innovative initiative to hit hunger where it hurts kids most: home.

and his rollicking cohorts have been conspiring to knock out hunger in our community for three years now.

Since 2009, the music-filled, hunger–fighting events have raised over $20,000 to support local efforts to provide food to those in need and increase awareness about hunger in Maplewood and South Orange. Today, as testament to the terrific work this wonderful group has managed to accomplish, they’re launching their first ever self-sponsored program: :

The program aims to provide kid-friendly, shelf-stable food to in-need children in SOMA schools. Items will be distributed in pre-packaged bags and placed in the child's backpack at the end of the school week.

“These children are typically those who receive free in-school breakfast and lunches during the week, but may face the prospect of a weekend without food,” explains Rent Party’s founder, Chris Dickson. “BackPack Pals is an effort to bridge this gap.”

Rent Party’s BackPack Pals is working with Karen Wieland at the Parenting Center to identify children in need and both the OLS and St. Joe's Food Pantries are supporting the effort. “Since we started, our focus has been local,” says Dickson. “And this is going to really help kids in our school system.”

As proud as Chris is of Rent Party’s accomplishments — and this latest initiative — he credits the organization's success to its hometown roots:

“We’ve gotten such incredible support from the community from the beginning,” he explains. “The fact that we’ve grown to the point where we can launch BackPack Pals is really a reflection of what a wonderful place this is to live."

I’d say Rent Party is honestly one of the things that make this such a special place to live, too.

Happy Friday, Maplewood! 

francisrocco September 23, 2011 at 10:47 AM
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Love it, you guys can count on Maplewood Karate to contribute on an on going basis with our blue strip program.
JoAnn Walsh September 26, 2011 at 03:47 AM
Nice article. Wonderful cause. But credit also needs to be given to the South Orange Elks Lodge for donating the use of the lodge for the rent parties and also the lodge members who volunteer every month to work at the rent parties. Without the Elks Lodge and its members the rent parties would not be.
JoAnn Walsh September 26, 2011 at 03:51 AM
Also in the photo are Bob Fanneron (Esteemed Loyal Knight) and Jim Walsh (Past Exalted Ruler). Two Elks Lodge members who volunteer every month to bartend and work at the rent parties. Thanks guys, you do an outstanding job.

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