Backpack Kids

By: Hannah Snelling, Interim Outreach Director
Calvin Presbyterian Church
Re-printed with permission from Jan. 2015 Calvin PC Connections
Photo: Polly, Kathi and Jean packing food.

How well do you know the outreach ministries of Calvin Church? Wouldn’t it be wonderful to gain a deeper understanding and feel even more connected to these important ministries?  

This January, Outreach Ministry is excited to begin a new movement:  quarterly outreach focuses. Each quarter, the congregation will be invited to partner more deeply with one of our outreach ministries. Up first is a focus on our Backpack Kids ministry.

Hunger is a growing problem in the U.S. and Shoreline is no exception. Kids are especially vulnerable to hunger as they need vital nutrients to grow, yet may not have food security in their home.

Seeing this need, Polly Terman, a Calvin member, started Backpack Kids, a ministry that sends food packs home from school each weekend with kids and families in need. Currently, Calvin supports three schools:  Parkwood Elementary School, Einstein Middle School, and Shorewood High School.  Each month the food packs are assembled by some of Calvin’s small groups.  

When Backpack Kids began, just one school received these meals, but over the years it has grown. In order to meet the needs of more schools in the area, Backpack Kids has successfully recruited more churches into the ministry, partnering them with specific schools. The Northwest Coast Presbytery has partnered with this ministry by contributing funds from the Community Blessing Grant.

There are currently six churches working with a total of nine schools. The schools have taken notice and are deeply grateful for the partner churches. What an incredible way to be the hands and feet of the Lord in our schools!

Getting the food together for these packs is a big job! Each pack includes supplies for six meals and two snacks, and Calvin is responsible for 50 packs a week. 

For the next couple of months, we will be collecting some of the items needed for the food packs. You can be involved by being sure to bring these items with you when you come to Calvin.  

As we partner in ministry with Backpack Kids, remember to pray for the kids who are being fed and their families, for the leadership and people involved in gathering the food packs, and for the schools we work with. Talk with your family about this project and how you might be involved.  

In February we will highlight Backpack Kids one Sunday with an opportunity for you to see what it takes to get the food packs together, so be on the lookout for more information about that soon.

Adding a jar of peanut butter to your grocery list may not be difficult for you, but for these kids it makes all the difference in the world.

Support Backpack Kids with a Fred Meyer Rewards Card. BackPack Kids has been added to Fred Meyer’s Community Rewards program, non-profit number NPO# 90203. Fred Meyer donates $2.5 million per year to non-profits in Alaska, Idaho, Oregon and Washington.

When you link your FM Rewards Card to Backpack Kids, every time you shop and use your Rewards Card, you are helping Backpack Kids earn a donation toward food security for kids. You still earn your Rewards Points, Fuel Points, and Rebates. FM Rewards Cards are available at the Customer Service desk of any Fred Meyer store. Get more information

Backpack Kids has been featured in other articles in Connections: June 2014 and October 2014.