Reposted from the Utility Workers website .
Students at Van Derveer Elementary School who are enrolled in the Back Pack Buddies nutrition program have a new friend.
Local 423 Utility Workers Union of America has “adopted” the 210 students in Back Pack Buddies at Van Derveer by donating $3,570 to the Food Bank Network of Somerset County, N.J., which coordinates the nutrition program at Van Derveer and all elementary schools throughout the county.
The Local 423 donation will fund food packs for five consecutive weeks, starting the week of Monday, Feb. 8.
The food packs contain nutritious, nonperishable items that can be consumed by the youngsters with minimal preparation—including containers of hot and cold cereal, instant ramen noodles and macaroni and cheese, canned tuna, sausage, and pasta with sauce, a juice and milk box, and a snack.
Food packs are sent home with the children every Friday afternoon to supplement their weekend food consumption.
Back Pack Buddies is a nationwide nutrition assistance program for elementary school children who are enrolled in the public education system’s free lunch program.
The Food Bank Network relies on private donations to fill the food packs, according to Executive Director Marie Scannell. She said it costs about $3.40 to fill each pack with the food items.
“ Local 423 ’s commitment to the Back Pack Buddies program greatly enhances our ability to ensure that these children will receive nutritional assistance for a number of weekends,” Scannell said in a prepared statement.
“The Food Bank Network takes on a tremendous responsibility to ensure that school children have access to nutritious food,” said Local 423 President Mike Esposito in the statement. “Adopting this school will help ease some of the burden for the Food Bank Network. We hope this prompts businesses, organizations and others in the private sector to adopt schools throughout Somerset County so that more children are guaranteed to receive food packs under this vital program.”