Sending Our Little Ones Off With a Smile

The Berkeley County BackPack Program is an on-going program that feeds over 600 students weekly, and the mission of the BackPack Program is to meet the needs of hungry children at times when other resources are not available, such as weekends and school vacations by providing bags of non-perishable food to take home from school. During the summer months when school is out of session, the Program feeds nearly 200 students every other week. This program is vital to ensure that the next generation has an opportunity to succeed regardless of their economic status.

In the Fall of 2010, it was brought to the attention of several mothers in the area that a program like this was desperately needed in Berkeley County. The Berkeley County BackPack Program was launched in November 2010. The Program began feeding 36 children at one school. Today, nine years later, we are serving over 600 students each week.

Every week, a team of volunteers meet at a facility on Foxcroft Avenue in Martinsburg to organize, sort, bag, inventory, and deliver the food bags to the schools for the students so they have food to eat over the weekends while not in school. During the summer months, the food bags are picked up by the families at our facility every other week.

It is supported by a variety of credible studies that students who are not properly nourished perform poorly in school. Our challenge is to ensure that every schoolchild in Berkeley County is prepared to learn by having his or her nutritional needs met. Even with the gradually improving economy, many families are struggling to provide enough food for their children. One in six Berkeley County children live with food insecurity, which means that approximately 4,340 children locally do not always know where they will find their next meal. The cycle of poverty in our community can be mitigated through education, but children must be fed in order to be ready to learn.

How can you help?

The BackPack Program is a 100% volunteer organization, which is solely funded by donations from local individuals, businesses and churches, as well as fundraisers and grants. Monetary donations are always needed to help with the purchase of food for the students. Donations can be made online at or mailed to P.O. Box 2153, Hedgesville WV 25427.

Non-perishable food donations can be made at the schools we service and drop boxes located around the county listed on our website.

Attend our Spaghetti Dinner and Silent Auction Fundraiser on Sunday, September 8th from noon to 3pm at Tomahawk Intermediate School, Hedgesville. Join us for spaghetti, salad, rolls, desserts and beverages to help us raise funds to kick off the school year. Tickets are available at BCT Bank in Hedgesville or by calling 304-268-0635.

Finally, come volunteer with us! During the school year, we assemble the food bags every Thursday at 9am at 300 Foxcroft Ave. No need to RSVP, and use the rear door down the ramp. Everyone is welcome-especially kids! Like our Facebook page to stay up to date on our schedule and for evening volunteer sessions this coming fall and winter:

Help us fight child hunger… one backpack at a time!

Author: Brian

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