Volunteers Shelly Brown, right, and Loretta Shindler organize food-filled bags during the Backpack Buddy Program’s packing party at Seattle’s Union Gospel Mission warehouse in Kent on Jan. 4. MARK KLAAS, Kent Reporter

Volunteers Shelly Brown, right, and Loretta Shindler organize food-filled bags during the Backpack Buddy Program’s packing party at Seattle’s Union Gospel Mission warehouse in Kent on Jan. 4. MARK KLAAS, Kent Reporter

Volunteers buddy up to beat child hunger

Rotarians spur effort to bring food relief to students away from school

Children don’t always have enough to eat when they’re away from school.

Recognizing the challenge, the Kent Rotary (Noon) Club and volunteers are doing something about it – one 3-pound bag at a time.

For the second consecutive school year, Rotarians and scores of local volunteers are donating their time to filling sacks of nutritional, easy-t0-make meals for children who attend Kent schools.

The latest packing party was Jan. 4, courtesy of Seattle’s Union Gospel Mission, which provided its Kent warehouse for volunteers, young and old, to gather and fill bags with food.

In one hour, volunteers filled 893 bags – their biggest party to date – all part of the Backpack Buddy Program.

The community effort provides bags with food to needy children for the weekends when school lunches are not available, serving more than 200 children at six elementary schools – Kent, East Hill, Sunrise, Neely-O’Brien, Emerald Park and Horizon.

With the help of local businesses, volunteers, Rotary and district employees, Backpack Buddies debuted in the Kent School District a year ago.

So far this school year, the program has provided nearly 2,000 bags of food.

“It’s very rewarding to be able to provide for the needy children,” said Axel Henning, a Rotarian who helps organize and direct the assembly-like packing party each month. “They found that when students come to class on Mondays, many can’t concentrate. They were hungry.”

Backpack Buddies is funded through donations, fundraising and gifts and run solely by volunteers. Volunteers meet regularly throughout the school season. Provided with a number of students needing nutritional help, volunteers pack paper bags with nutritional food items meant to supplement what is available at home. Food items vary but may include juice, milk, fruit cups, pasta, soup, granola bars, oatmeal and dried and fresh fruit.

Volunteers also distribute the food bags directly to the schools.

The Rotary Club’s dinner and auction on April 1 at Green River College is a major fundraising event that fuels the program.

The next packing parties are Feb. 1 and March 1.

To donate or to volunteer, visit kentrotary.com or Facebook, or email Henning at info@kentrotary.com.


Talk to us

Please share your story tips by emailing editor@kentreporter.com.

To share your opinion for publication, submit a letter through our website https://www.kentreporter.com/submit-letter/. Include your name, address and daytime phone number. (We’ll only publish your name and hometown.) Please keep letters to 300 words or less.

More in News

t
Seattle male pedestrian killed in Kent after collision with vehicle

Reportedly stepped into lanes Feb. 26 in 24400 block of Pacific Highway South

t
Kent Police make robbery arrests after West Hill carjacking

Vehicle reportedly taken near Pacific Highway South; pursuit ends in Auburn

t
Kent Police bust alleged chop shop on East Hill along South 240th St. | Photos

14 stolen vehicles, several trailers, car parts, firearms and drugs reportedly found on site

t
Sound Transit plans light rail community meetings about S. 272nd St. impact

Scheduled for Feb. 28 and March 14 at Woodmont Library on Pacific Highway South

t
Man identified who died of medical emergency in Kent while driving car

King County Medical Examiner’s Office rules death of natural causes in 132nd Avenue SE crash

t
Man, 29, fatally shot on Metro bus in Kent identified

No charges filed against shooter who reportedly acted in self-defense

t
Aegis Living Kent earns Joint Commission memory care certification

Program designed to enhance the care of residents who suffer from memory-impacting conditions

t
New Puget Sound Fire engines to hit Kent streets | Photos

Kent will get four new vehicles for East Hill, city of SeaTac one

Maleng Regional Justice Center in Kent. FILE PHOTO
Discarded cigarette leads to arrest of Kent double homicide suspects

DNA reveals man, woman who reportedly killed two people in January 2023 at local motel

t
State Patrol chief thanks public for support of trooper shot in Kent

Trooper’s injuries are not life threatening despite being shot multiple times

t
Boy, 17, fatally shot in Kent in exchange of gunfire identified | Update

Shooting between subjects in vehicles Feb. 20 along East Valley Highway near South 180th Street

Car damaged by bullets during Feb. 19 Interstate 5 shooting. (Courtesy of Washington State Patrol)
King County Councilmember wants more info about I-5 shootings

The letter, addressed to WSP Chief John R. Batiste, comes in wake of a Feb. 19 drive-by shooting that occurred on I-5 in Tukwila that left a victim in critical condition.