It is with gratitude that we acknowledge the success of Blessings in a Backpack in the Rochester Community Schools. This volunteer based program would not be possible without the generous support from our community. Blessings in a Backpack provides six simple meals for students in need each weekend during the school year. Food is provided by Meijer at wholesale costs. Volunteers gather each Wednesday to pack bags of food at the First Congregational Church at 1315 N. Pine Street in Rochester. These bags are then delivered to local schools and placed in students’ backpacks before school is dismissed for the weekend.
We piloted the program in 2010 with donations from a group of physicians at Beaumont Hospital and a Mini-Grant from The Brooksie Way. We were able to make a commitment to feed students over the weekend at 5 of our Title One schools. Now, seven years later, we are delivering to 17 schools in the Rochester Community Schools. Our students range in age from preschool to our adult transitional students. It costs $100 to feed a student for a year.
What happens to these students over the summer months? Logistically, it is very hard to reach these students. We have partnered with the Rochester Hills Public Library to deliver meals during the summer months. We follow the bookmobile on Wednesdays to two different stops- Borden Park and Reuther Middle School. We have 96 families who are participating in our summer program. Through this personal contact we have heard many stories of hardship. These stories remind us why we do what we do. These stories remind us how we could be just one step away from hardship ourselves. These stories remind us that we are a community who cares. The strength of our community is the result of those who live and work in the area supporting each other at all times, but especially during the difficult times.
Along with our summer program, we also have two $1,000 Blessings in a Backpack scholarships that we offer each year. One scholarship is for a student who has benefitted from our program and one for a student who has given back through community service. These scholarships are for continued education beyond high school- trade school, associates degree or a bachelors degree.
Money donated will be used to feed children over the weekends and provide scholarships. The success of Blessings in a Backpack embodies the spirit of a town that works hard. We provide opportunities for individuals and companies to give back. Research shows that healthy well-nourished children learn better, are more likely to attend school and are able to take advantage of educational opportunities. By eliminating the risk factor of hunger, Blessings in a Backpack can enrich our students’ lives as well as strengthen our community. Nourished kids are ready to learn. Food is an essential building block and a true blessing to a hungry child.
Calendar of Events
November 4th, 2017- Rochester High School Holiday Bazaar
December 6th, 2017- Shop with a Cop. Meijer 3175 S. Rochester Rd., Rochester Hills, MI 48307
First Congregational Church