Backpack program selected for donation

ContributedThe Grove City Area United Way recently received a donation for the Food for Kids backpack program from the Pittsburgh Regional Food Service Directors organization. The agency, which oversees the program’s funds, was nominated by Jennifer Reiser, Grove City Area School District’s director of food and nutrition services. Pictured from left are Abbie Turner-Michael, a representative of the Food for Kids fundraising group, Reiser and Amy Foley, executive director of the Grove City Area United Way.

The local Food for Kids backpack program is getting a boost thanks to Grove City Area School District’s director of food and nutrition services.

Jennifer Reiser nominated the program to be considered for a contribution from the Pittsburgh Regional Food Service Directors organization.

The Grove City Area United Way, which oversees funds for Food for Kids, has been awarded $250.

“That was really exciting,” Reiser said.

The program provides food to students who qualify; the items are discreetly placed in their backpacks at the end of the school week, giving them meals and snacks to eat at home over the weekend.

“Any help that we can get whatsoever is much appreciated,” said Amy Foley, the United Way’s executive director.

Food for Kids got its start about seven years ago as a spinoff of the Grove City Area Chamber of Commerce’s leadership program – Grove City Young Professionals.

It’s funded by donations, and there are currently 56 students in the program, Foley said.

This latest donation will buy food for about half of those students for one weekend.

The Pittsburgh organization likes to give back to surrounding communities, and every year they donate money to food banks and school backpack programs, Reiser said.

The Grove City Area United Way was one of 10 agencies selected this time around.

Reiser keeps in touch with the Grove City Community Food Pantry – the district donates some leftover food – so she has seen how some families are struggling.

Nutrition is very important and a basic need, so every little bit of support helps, she said.

Government regulations for free or reduced lunch eligibility has changed, meaning fewer students qualify, she said.

“Food insecurity exists for so many students in the district,” she said.

FOR more information about the Food for Kids backpack program or to donate, call the Grove City Area United Way at 724-458-4527. Checks can be sent to the Grove City Area United Way at Box 388, Grove City, PA 16127; write “backpack program” in the memo line.

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