Kids are thankful for Fill the Backpack

Wake Up

Nearly 50% of the student population at Roy B Kelley Elementary is below the poverty line.

The kids that receive food from Fill the Backpack say it really helps.

Tuesday is a big day here at Roy B Kelley in Lockport.

Bags filled with canned food and non-perishable items make a big impact.

“We get to use it for dinner, it is good!” said first grade student, Brayden Taylor.

These items make sure kids and their families don’t go hungry over the weekend.

“I love the backpack program because it’s a good idea because you have food over the weekend because you don’t have to go buy food over the weekend.” said Jannifer Johnson, a third grade student.

Jannifer tells us it makes her family gatherings special.

“Yesterday we had a memorial cookout, and we used the mac ‘n cheese and hot dogs and stuff,” said Jannifer.

There can be a negative stigma surrounding people who receive free food, so the staff at Roy B Kelley came up with a way to squash it.

These kids are part of the Backpack Club.

“This is a unified group so at the end of the week they come up in groups and they take the responsibility of putting it in their backpack so really it’s a positive response because it is a club and partnership,” said Principal Heather Walton.

Principal Walton says teachers are able to refer students who they think meet the criteria.

“Unfortunately one of our 4th grade students had a fire in January and so with this backpack program we have the flexibility to go through the process, approve them and they can be apart of it.
When people are having tough times and difficulties this really helps out and so I really think it’s been a great impact on our families,” said Walton.

Fill the Backpack began in 2010 with 2 schools and 450 kids.

Now, the program is in 46 schools throughout 4 counties in Western New York.

It serves nearly 3,000 students and their families every week.

“A lot of the students are really excited for Fridays I think we’ve seen a boost of when kids to come school,” said school Nurse, Nicole Taurgrasso.

The donation at your Wegmans checkout line may be a small gesture of kindness, but to get a good response makes it so worth it.

“It’s so fun, I love it!!!” said Brayden.

Fill the Backpack runs June 3rd through June 17th. 

Visit any Western New York Wegmans to make a donation.

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