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Backpack Buddies: Packing up help for the island’s hungry children

What began as a conversation among women at Congregation Beth Yam has become an islandwide ecumenical movement to help the island’s hungry children.
Backpack Buddies is a local initiative of the domestic hunger-relief charity Feeding America, a nationwide network of more than 200 food banks — including the Lowcountry Food Bank in Charleston. The Food Bank provides healthy, child-friendly, shelf-sustainable food that can be put into backpacks and taken home for weekend meals. For $151, Backpack Buddies can feed a child for 24 weekends.

Recent research has shown that 47 percent of students in the elementary schools on Hilton Head Island receive full or subsidized breakfasts and lunches, and that many of these children do not have enough to eat on weekends. To help address this problem, Backpack Buddies joined forces with the Lowcountry Food Bank, administrators at three public elementary schools on Hilton Head: Congregation Beth Yam, St. Andrew By-The-Sea United Methodist Church and First Presbyterian Church. These congregations provided the financial support, personnel and workspace needed to make Backpack Buddies a reality on Hilton Head.

The group recently received new funding grants from the Ward Family Foundation, the St. Francis Thrift Shop and Long Cove Community Endowment Fund. Donations to Backpack Buddies are tax-deductible.

Find a Buddy
Find out more about Backpack Buddies and their work at hungerandhomelesscoalition.org