How the Backpack Society helps students and their families


The Backpack Society is an organization that works to provide food to families in the local community and partners with schools to help those families in need. This year, HR is working with the Backpack Society to ensure that students and families are able to get food during this year, and next year as well. 

Raelynn Nissler, a counselor, and point-person working with the Backpack Society, said, “They stock our food pantry with items that are grab-and-go for students to eat while at school, but they also provide foods that students can put in their backpacks to take home for their families.”

This organization’s free program also offers weekend meals for students who are on the Free or Reduced Lunch program. The first offer given is the Student Weekend Food Program, where the student signs up through a registration form on the Backpack Society’s website by their parent or guardian, where the organization will then begin to send weekly bags of food to the school for those students. These bags will contain six meals and some snacks that will help the student get through the weekend.

Somer Hogan, counselor, said, “I think we can all relate to not being able to do our best work, or even be in a good mood when we’re hungry.  For students whose families are not able to provide them regular meals, the Backpack society has been an absolute life-changer.”

The second method mentioned is the Family Weekend Food Program, where the family signs up through the Backpack Society’s website to schedule a pickup from the school for the food. Lastly, the third offer given was the School Closet Pantry, where the organization will have a closet pantry in the school. Nissler said, “We also have a different option because of the stigma that comes with needing help, some families and kids don’t sign up. We will provide ready-to-eat, easy to prepare meals and snacks for the kids to easily put in their backpack and you and your staff can access it whenever you need it. This is a new approach for us, but we are willing to work with you and your staff to make this happen. Our staff will stock it as often as necessary.”

Not only does the Backpack Society offer food, but they also provide backpacks and school supplies. Yana Bourdelais, counselor, said, “We were so lucky because they reached out to us hoping to help out with our school community. They brought us backpacks, school supplies, and lots and lots of food. So we are available to help everyone at this school. They have already come again and replenished our food supply, so that we don’t run out of yummy snacks for our students.”

The students and families who are struggling this year can go to the Backpack Society website and contact the organization through a tab on the website where you can enter your information, and ask about the multiple programs they provide. You are also able to donate food or money by going to the donate tab at the top of the website. 

Jaysen Anderson, Staff Reporter