Weekend food program to expand, if funds allow

Jun 11, 2018

Rockland — In the three years since Area Interfaith Outreach began its Weekend Backpack Program, not only have volunteers regularly manned the assembly line, but the Midcoast community has continued to send contributions to make it possible.   According to the program’s founder, Sherry Cobb, this year, with the number of children each week averaging 325 (25 of them at an in-school food pantry at Medomak High School), the cost to AIO for the food was nearly $74,000, paid to Good Shepherd Food Bank at $225 per child per school year.  While the weekday breakfasts and lunches for very low-income children at school are a federal program, the weekend backpack program gets no government funds.  Nevertheless, through grants, fundraisers, and many personal checks, the money has come in.

This fall the program hopes to expand to include five more schools.  Staff at Appleton, Hope, and Lincolnville elementary schools, plus Camden Hills and Medomak middle schools, have asked to be included.

“I’ve been telling everyone that we’d love to bring their children in, but it will depend on our being able to raise that much additional money,” Cobb said.  She estimates, that those five schools would probably mean a hundred more children, and would bring the bill to about $100,000.  “Now, in June, we have about $50,000 toward next year.” Cobb said.  “It’s still a steep hill to climb.”

More about AIO’s weekend backpack program can be found at knoxadoptabackpack.org.  Checks can be made out to AIO and designated for the backpack program:  AIO, P.O. Box 113, Rockland, ME 04841.



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