The Backpack Weekend Food Program provides non-perishable food for school-aged children to use as meals over the weekend when they are away from free or reduced-cost meals at school. Single serving, non-perishable bags of food (including fruits, vegetables, milk, crackers, soup, etc . . .) are packed, delivered to the school, and are placed in the child’s backpack to take home for the weekend.
The Backpack Weekend Food program currently has 784 students enrolled in Gaston County at 41 different schools through a total of 38 partnerships. The main program is housed out of Holy Trinity Lutheran Church in Gastonia, however, the program is quickly outgrowing its location. Social workers and school counselors identify children who qualify. A dietician at CaroMont Health creates the menus, and there are even groups that pack allergy-free bags. The Backpack Weekend Food program is truly a community-wide effort to reduce child hunger in Gaston County.
Sara Sprague coordinates St. Mark’s backpack program that is currently is feeding 23 children at Gardner Park Elementary School in partnership with Redeemer Lutheran Church. Volunteer opportunities include monthly inventory checks, weekly packing of the individual bags, and weekly delivering of the food to Gardner Park Elementary School. Contact Sara at or at 704-524-9214 if you are interested in helping with this ministry.