Foundations Preschool Backpack Program
By providing nutritional support to children over the weekend and during school holidays, we are able to help children and families that may otherwise go without a meal. Participating children are sent home on Fridays from Foundation Preschool with a backpack of healthy, kid-friendly food. The program runs from September to the end of the school year in May. Backpacks include 7-9 items that help feed children when they do not have the benefit of school meals.
We are partnered with All Faiths Food Bank, a member of Feeding America located in Sarasota. They are currently servicing 32 schools and are trying to ensure 2,100 children receive backpacks each and every week. The Food Bank is a small staff of about 22 employees. Thirty-one volunteer sponsor organizations including Englewood United Methodist are assisting.
The groceries are intended to provide at least five meals along with some healthy snack items for each child. A typical Back Pack bag includes: 2 breakfast items (usually one hot and one cold), 2 servings of fruit, 3.5 servings of vegetables, 2 entrees or protein-containing items and 2 healthy snack items.
Fresh fruit is included in the backpacks every other week since packing is done every two weeks. The fresh fruit choices such as apples and oranges are fruits that transport easily without worry of bruising or damage. Individual cartons of milk are supplied every other week. All food items require little to no preparation. Water and/or a microwave are all that is needed.
The All Faiths Food Bank delivery truck comes to Englewood every other Wednesday morning to St. David’s Episcopal Church Jubilee Center. Volunteers from Englewood United Methodist are there to receive our portion of the delivery and bring it back to Fellowship Hall to await packing the next day.
On Thursday volunteers assemble in Fellowship Hall to pack. Assembly lines are formed for each week of food provided. Bins have been provided by All Faiths Food Bank to transport and store packed back packs. Week One bins containing the fresh fruit are immediately delivered to the preschool to be sent home on Friday. Week Two bins are filled and stored in the backpack storage area for distribution the second week.
For more information on volunteering or to donate to the back pack program contact the church office. You can sponsor a child for the school year at a cost of $95 or contribute what you are comfortable giving. A check made out to EUMC can be place in the Sunday collection plate or dropped off at the church office. Be sure to include your envelope number and backpack on the memo line on your check. Your support is welcomed and appreciated.