Donations are being sought for a new program that will make sure kids in need don’t go hungry over the weekend.

Brighton Area Schools will be taking part in the Blessing in a Backpack program, which helps feed elementary school children on the weekend. Each week, backpacks are filled with enough non-perishable food for the weekend to students that qualify on the federal free and reduced lunch program. The cost is $100 per child, per year. The goal is to keep students from going hungry on the weekends and remove barriers to academic success. A steering committee is hoping to raise enough funds to start sending backpacks home with students in the fall.

Retired BAS Teacher and Administrator Kay Nicholas tells WHMI there is definitely a need and it’s a very beneficial program. She says they’re in the organizational phase right now and have begun collecting donations to start the program at the elementary level, where approximately 260 kids qualify. The backpacks will be filled with various items such as mac and cheese, juice boxes, granola bars and canned fruit.

Blessing in a Backpack is a national program through which Meijer will get the food together each week. It will be housed and packed at the Brighton Board of Education offices before being delivered to elementary schools for students to take home each Friday. Ideally, the program would be expanded to all Brighton schools as funds become available. In addition to donations, volunteers will eventually be needed to help pack food.

To date, roughly $3,500 has been raised. Those wishing to donate can do so by selecting Brighton Area Schools on the national website. That link is provided. Anyone wanting to get involved can contact Nicholas at 810-588-7950 or via email (JM)