BACKPACK BUDDIES

A COMMUNITY PROGRAM

"BECAUSE HUNGER DOESN'T TAKE A BREAK ON THE WEEKENDS"

"Food insecurity and hunger damage the architecture of children's brains, and that makes it extremely difficult for them to ever reach their full potential as effective workers and members of society. American business leaders have the means and ingenuity to prevent this from happening. By doing that, and ending child food insecurity and hunger, they can ensure a prosperous future for us all." 

 

Jack P. Shonkoff, MD, Harvard University School of Public Health
 

What is BackPack Buddies?

 

In Shelby County alone, there are over 10,000 public school children on the free meal program at their school but what happens over the weekends? During long holiday breaks and weekends, The BackPack Buddies Program helps meet the need by providing public school students with nutritious and easy-to-prepare food that they can take home when other resources aren’t always available. We also provide Family Emergency Food Boxes, Hygiene Bags, and many other important essentials.

 

BackPack Programs are facilitated all over the United States and we are so thankful to offer our own customized backpack program to the children of Shelby County. This is only possible due to the generous and caring sponsors, donors, and grantors that have selflessly invested money, time, and hard work to insure that every child has a chance to thrive and have a great future.

 

 
Who are the Buddies?

 

*Public school children ages 5-14, Some HS

*Free or Reduced Meal Recipients

*Homeless/Transitional Housing

*In Crisis/Trauma Situations

*Single Parent Home

What schools does BackPack Buddies service?

 

Alabaster City Schools

Pelham City Schools

Shelby County Schools

During summer-time, we also service children and families in Jefferson County through summer camps and special family events.

 

 
When does BackPack Buddies take place?

 

The program feeds approximately 950+ students weekly from August through May of every school year. When school ends, the participants receive provision through the many summer feeding programs offered throughout Shelby County.

2019-2020 Packing Party Dates with Special Activities
Start time: 9am- 10:30am
September 7: 5K Sign-up/Hygiene Collection
October 5: Hygiene Bags & Larry the Magician
November 2: Christmas Stockings
December 7: Christmas Stockings
January 4: Soup Drive
February 1: Valentine Bags & Larry the Magician
March 7: Hygiene Bags
April 4: Easter Bags & Larry the Magician

* For more information about Hygiene Bags, Christmas Stockings, or Project Yummy, please go to our INVEST tab.
 

COMMUNITY PACKING PARTIES

A Community Packing Party is a monthly event that begins generally from August through May of each school year.

 

FAQ’S:
 
WHEN DO THE PACKING PARTIES OCCUR?

 

Parties take place every first Saturday of the month for the entire school year. We start at 9am and are generally finished around 10:30am.

 

 

WHERE DO THE PACKING PARTIES OCCUR?

 

Parties always take place at our agency office. Our address is:

Pelham Mall

2834 Pelham Parkway

Pelham, Al. 35124

* If you need directions sent to you, please email:  stephiegrissom0@gmail.com

 

WHAT HAPPENS AT A PACKING PARTY?

 

At every party, we pack what are called “Buddy Bags”, which are the food bags that we give to the public school children who are participants on the BackPack Buddies Program.

Often, we have additional supporting projects such as Hygiene Bags, Family Emergency Boxes, Christmas Stockings, Project Yummy, and other Holiday Bag Support.

We also invite other area non-profits to come and showcase their great work and share our wonderful volunteers with them.

 

WHY DO YOU HAVE PACKING PARTIES?

 

Packing Parties allow the entire community to come together to help fight childhood food insecurity. It also helps us with the labor intensive work that is required to get all of the Buddy Bags packed and loaded onto our delivery van. From toddlers to special needs folks, all the way to seniors, there is place for anyone to come serve. We have numerous churches, civic groups, companies, and individuals that come to serve monthly.

 

WHO DO THE PACKING PARTIES BENEFIT?

 

Packing Parties benefit close to 900 children that are fed on the program every single week. Our agency, along with our amazing sponsors, have packing parties all over the county to accomplish this rewarding but huge task at hand. We also believe that if children begin service at the earliest age that this creates a lifestyle of service to the community. We find that most people that come also feel blessed to invest in this worthwhile cause.

 

 
How does the food arrive to the Buddies?

 

Through either VFS or a Trained Sponsor of our program, each school receives a weekly delivery of Buddy Food Bags by no later than Thursday to the school counselor. School counselors make sure each Buddy receives their bag privately on Fridays for over the weekend. On long holiday breaks, Buddies receive extra food bags along with other needed essentials.

Thank you to

the Rotary Club of Alabaster-Pelham

for our Backpack Buddies Van Donation

How are they chosen to participate on the program?

 

Buddy participants are selected based solely on need by the school professionals at their respective school. This professional group involves the school counselors, teachers, principals, vice principals, and social county workers. Families cannot apply to be on the program but can make a request with the school counselor of their child’s school.

 

 
What criteria are used to assess the participant?

 

There are food insecurity indicators listed below for review. Along with these important factors, school counselors have a homeless/transitional housing roster throughout the year and are intimately aware of the many adverse home situations that arise with the students in their care.

Food Insecurity Indicators

School Counselors and Program Sponsors

Want to become a BackPack Buddies Sponsor?

 

Please contact Stephanie Grissom, Program Director at 205-317-9897 or email: stephiegrissom0@gmail.com for further details. We provide a quick, easy training that allows your church, business, or group to make a meaningful investment into the community. It is a simple program that simply works.

 

 
Want to be a sponsor but you don’t have the time to do it?

 

You can still be a Recognized Sponsor by making the financial investment into one of our served schools and we will do the shopping, packing, and delivering.

 

2019-2020 School List In-Kind Donations/Grants &/or Sponsorship

950+ TOTAL BUDDIES SERVED WEEKLY IN SHELBY COUNTY

33 Schools: Alabaster City, Pelham City, and Shelby County Systems

PRINTABLE INFORMATION ON BACKPACK 
BUDDIES
CHILD FOOD INSECURITY IMPACTS EDUCATION, HEALTH, AND WORKFORCE
SEE HOW FOOD INSECURITY IMPACTS BUSINESSES

OUR PERSONAL STATISTICS

2015-2016 Grade Promotion

Top 10 Issues Our Buddies Face

  1. Parents divorced or divorcing

  2. Multiple families living in one residence

  3. Unemployment of parent(s)

  4. History of child abuse

  5. Disability of parent or guardian

  6. Domestic violence in the home

  7. Parent deceased

  8. Incarceration of parent or guardian

  9. Parent abandonment

  10. Loss of reliable means of transportation

2014-2015 Grade Promotion

Our Buddies

 

 

46% live in Single Parent Homes.

 

       That is an estimated 322 of our 700+ students

.

21% live in Transitional Housing.

         (foster care, shelter, guardians other than parents)

 

       That is an estimated 147 of our 700+ students.

25% meet federal guidelines for                        Homelessness.

 

       That is an estimated 175 of our 700+ students.

OTHER STATISTICS

ALABAMA

ALABAMA

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© 2016 by Vineyard Family Services

Ward Williams

Executive Director

ward@vfsdads.com

(205) 533-7852

Physical Address:

2834-H Pelham Parkway

Pelham, AL 35124

Stephanie Grissom

Program Director

stephiegrissom0@gmail.com

(205) 317-9897

Mailing Address:

P.O. Box 2458

Alabaster, AL 35007

Charity Havercroft

Grants Manager

charityhavercroft@gmail.com

(205) 837-0265