Blessings in a Backpack-Clarkston is a “neighbor-helping-neighbor” program that is designed to help bridge the gap of the nutritional needs of children from Clarkston Community Schools. Each week, we distribute backpacks filled with enough non-perishable food for the weekend to students that qualify on the Federal Free and Reduced Lunch program. The goal of Blessings in a Backpack is to keep these students from going hungry on the weekends and remove barriers to academic success.To date, the program is established at the Early Childhood Center, all seven elementary schools, Sashabaw Middle School and Renaissance High School. In the fall of 2014 we will be adding the Clarkston Junior High and Clarkston High School. These final additions will make the every school in the Clarkston Community School district a participant. None of this would be possible without the support of our volunteers, donors, sponsors and YOU! Thank you!
Increase Test Scores – 48%
Decrease Behavioral Issues – 32%
Greater Attention Spans – 42%
Improved Class Atmosphere – 60%
Improved Attendance – 48%
With these results, it has proven this program really works and gives us the opportunity to change the lives of many children.
How This Is All Possible
Currently, we send home 350 backpacks per week during the school year. We have many volunteers that allow this to happen from Meijer Corporation supplying our food at a drastically reduced rate to Changing Places Moving Company donating their truck and time to deliver our food to Clarkston Free Methodist Church, which provides the space for our pantry and packing needs. We have five organizations that pack each week of the month ranging from the Girls Scouts, churches, students and youth groups. There are many individuals that transport our filled and empty backpacks to and from the schools and once a month we have a group of people that help unload and stock the pantry. The Steering Committee is made up of community members, school administrators and teachers. They provide their time, ideas and the goals for this program to thrive.
There are many fundraisers that have been implemented to fund this program. These fundraisers have allowed us to bring awareness of the need of food for the children of Clarkston.
Raising funds is vital to the life of our program. Currently, we are able to feed one child for the entire school year for $100. Every penny counts! Below is a list of our annual fundraising events, please click on each event to get more information about participating.
Our main fundraiser is our Annual Golfing FORE! Backpacks. This event is hosted in September at Pine Knob Golf Course in Clarkston. This successful fundraiser has brought in over $20,000 per year. This event has continuously grown and sets the tone for our fundraising efforts!
We also participate in the Taste of Clarkston, an outdoor food festival that includes live entertainment, exhibits and free children’s activities on Main Street in historic downtown Clarkston during the month of September.
In addition, a new initiative we began in 2013 was Fashions for Blessings hosted at Bonnie and Clyde. They feature the latest fall arrivals including denim, footwear, knits, outerwear, and jewelry. Last year 10% of sales were donated to our program!
The Clarkston State Bank BackRoads Half Marathon & 10K has chosen Blessings in a Backpack as one of their two benefactors in 2014. The event is hosted at the Independence Oaks County Park and will be incorporating running some back roads of Independence Township, park trails, rolling hills and tree covered trails.
If you are looking for a place to shop during the holiday season, the Alternative Christmas Gift Fair takes place on the first Saturday and Sunday of December. You can purchase meaningful gifts by purchasing fair trade handicrafts and/or donating in a loved one’s name. This event is hosted at the Clarkston United Methodist Church.
After you’ve done your shopping, come join us at our Annual Alexander Zonjic Christmas Concert at Calvary Evangelical Lutheran Church. Mr. Zonjic is a talented and renowned flutist who fills our community with joy during Christmas time! Donations are collected during this wonderful event.
Calendar of Events
October 15, 2014– Fashions for Blessings – Bonnie and Clyde
November 9, 2014 – CSB BackRoads Half Marathon – Independence Oaks
December 6 & 7, 2014– Clarkston United Methodist Church Alternative Christmas Gift Fair
December 14, 2014 – Alexander Zonjic Christmas Concert – Calvary Evangelical Lutheran Church
Golf “Fore” Backpacks
To view the Event PDF click HERE
INTERESTED IN VOLUNTEERING
Blessings in a Backpack consists of members of our community. If you would like to support our cause by giving of your time, talents or resources, please email Thelma Peterson by clicking HERE and she will provide further information (firstname.lastname@example.org). Thank you!!!
Calvary Evangelical Lutheran Church
Changing Places Moving Company
Clarkston Community Church
Clarkston Community School District Staff
Clarkston Free Methodist Church
Clarkston United Methodist Church
North Oaks Community Church
Community Foundation of Greater Rochester
Renaissance High School and Life Skills Center School Staff & Students