Packing Help for Kids in Need Packing Help for Kids in Need Backpacks: Children Will Be Referred to Food Pantries If Supply Runs Out

Daily Herald (Arlington Heights, IL), August 7, 2014 | Go to article overview

Packing Help for Kids in Need Packing Help for Kids in Need Backpacks: Children Will Be Referred to Food Pantries If Supply Runs Out


Byline: Madhu Krishnamurthy mkrishnamurthy@dailyherald.com By Madhu Krishnamurthy mkrishnamurthy@dailyherald.com By Madhu Krishnamurthy mkrishnamurthy@dailyherald.com

Elgin Community College and its partners will give away thousands of backpacks filled with school supplies and food to students in need Saturday during the college's fifth annual Project Backpack.

The community-based initiative from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. in is Building J of the Spartan Event Center at 1700 Spartan Drive.

Roughly 5,000 people lined up for the event last year when the college gave away more than 2,000 backpacks.

Officials don't know how large the demand will be this year or exactly how many backpacks will be available to give away.

"We're still getting a lot of donations in, so we won't be able to know until the day of the event," said Katie Storey, ECC's student life coordinator.

Storey said the college has distributed more than 7,000 backpacks filled with supplies to families in need since 2010. Donations come from individuals, businesses, churches and community organizations.

"It really is truly a community effort," Storey said. "We try to give as much as we are able based on the community donations. There is still a great need (within) the school districts in our area, between homeless students and the students in need (eligible for the National School Lunch Program). "

The Northern Illinois Food Bank is partnering with ECC again this year to supply 3,000 backpacks of nonperishable

See Backpacks on Page 6

Elgin Community College and its partners will give away thousands of backpacks filled with school supplies and food to students in need Saturday during the college's fifth annual Project Backpack.

The community-based initiative from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. in is Building J of the Spartan Event Center at 1700 Spartan Drive.

Roughly 5,000 people lined up for the event last year when the college gave away more than 2,000 backpacks.

Officials don't know how large the demand will be this year or exactly how many backpacks will be available to give away.

"We're still getting a lot of donations in, so we won't be able to know until the day of the event," said Katie Storey, ECC's student life coordinator.

Storey said the college has distributed more than 7,000 backpacks filled with supplies to families in need since 2010. Donations come from individuals, businesses, churches and community organizations.

"It really is truly a community effort," Storey said. "We try to give as much as we are able based on the community donations. There is still a great need (within) the school districts in our area, between homeless students and the students in need (eligible for the National School Lunch Program). "

The Northern Illinois Food Bank is partnering with ECC again this year to supply 3,000 backpacks of nonperishable

food items to individual students in need.

"We did 3,000 last year as well," said Donna Lake, food bank spokeswoman. "We are involved simply because we are committed to making sure that no child goes hungry."

Each backpack will have enough food to fulfill a student's breakfast, lunch, supper and snack needs for a day.

"It's kid-friendly, nutritious food, including fresh produce," Lake said.

Lake said families are juggling a lot of expenses within a limited budget when students return to school.

"There's school supplies, back-to-school clothing, (school) registration fees, extracurricular fees ... all of that are additional expenses that add up and take away from the food budget," she said. "When your budget is already stretched, it's that much harder to take care of basic nutritional needs. Food is the last thing that they think of. We know that our pantry is being used more when school starts. (Project Backpack) makes a real difference in the lives of people who are strapped and maybe living paycheck-to-paycheck. …

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