New program makes sure students don’t go hungry over the weekend

Ozaukee Press staff

About 20 Ozaukee Elementary School students whose families may not have enough food to put on the table won’t go hungry over the weekends thanks to a program new to the school this year.

The Bags in Backpacks program run by Family Sharing of Grafton provides two lunches and two days of breakfast foods, as well as nutritious snacks — enough to see students through Saturdays and Sundays — in bags dropped off at their school at the end of the week.

The week Ozaukee Elementary School debuted the program, 16 students signed up for the meals. That number grew to 20 the following week, Principal Lynn Kucharski told the Northern Ozaukee School Board last week.

Supt. Dave Karrels said he heard about Bags in Backpacks from his counterpart in the Cedarburg School District, and after discussions with administrators over the summer the Fredonia district decided to test the program at its elementary school this semester.

“They piloted this program in Cedarburg last year and were blown away by the need for it,” Karrels said. “We decided to start it at our elementary school this semester, then evaluate whether we want to expand it to our middle and high schools.”

Family Sharing launched Bags in Backpacks last year to target a gap in school nutrition programs. While students are fed lunch five days a week in schools, as well as breakfast of some sort in an increasing number of districts that realize students can’t concentrate or learn as well when they are hungry, school systems don’t have the means to provide food for students over the weekends.

The program, which was tested at Westlawn Elementary School in Cedarburg and John Long Middle School in Grafton, was one of three initiatives launched by Family Sharing last year, Julie Pahnke, the organization’s community outreach manager, said. The other two programs were a mobile food pantry and delivery service for senior citizens.

“All three programs were successful, but Bags in Backpacks was definitely the most successful program we started last year,” she said. “It just blew up.”

This year, more than 60 students in eight schools throughout Ozaukee County are participating in the program, and Pahnke expects that number to grow.

Ozaukee Elementary School has the second most students participating, she said.

The growing popularity of the program has increased the need for volunteers to pack food bags for the program. Organizations that are interested in helping are asked to contact Family Sharing at (262) 377-0634.






Click Here to Send a Letter to the Editor

Ozaukee Press

Wisconsin’s largest paid circulation community weekly newspaper. Serving Port Washington, Saukville, Grafton, Fredonia, Belgium, as well as Ozaukee County government. Locally owned and printed in Port Washington, Wisconsin.

125 E. Main St.
Port Washington, WI 53074
(262) 284-3494


User login