Since October 2013, a small group of dedicated volunteers has purchased, packed, and delivered bags of foods to the Santa Fe ISD elementary schools for children who have limited or no access to nourishment on weekends. Originally, 50 children received these vital packs of food. In February 2018, there were 155 students who benefited weekly from Backpack Buddy.
Backpack Buddy began with a true leap of faith and an unwavering effort to ensure enough products would be available to meet the needs for every identified student every weekend during the school year. Donations from the Aldersgate United Methodist Church in Santa Fe along with individuals and local organizations supplied the initial funds needed to purchase items. Aldersgate UMC has continued to support Backpack Buddy by providing work space and storage space for the food items at no charge.
Because the number of identified students continues to increase, as well as the cost of the food, the all-volunteer, community-based program became a stand-alone, non-profit charity to ensure sustainability. The Internal Revenue Service granted a 501(c)(3) designation to Backpack Buddy on August 11, 2016. Also that year, the State of Texas recognized Backpack Buddy as a non-profit corporation. These designations allow the organization to seek funds and resources from individuals, businesses, organizations, philanthropically focused foundations, and employees who have matching-grant connections to their companies and employers.
Backpack Buddy appreciates any and all monetary or in-kind donations in support of this effort providing essential food items for students on the weekends. Donated funds are applied 100% to purchase food items. Administrative costs such as insurance and postage are covered through fundraisers (bake sales, card party, etc.).
At retail cost, each bag costs approximately $7.50.
1.) Make a donation toward the purchase of food supplies
2.) Host a Backpack Buddy Food Drive
3.) Donate grocery gift cards
4.) Help assemble the backpacks on Wednesdays at 10am
For more information, call:
Mary Gillispie, Backpack Buddy President 409.256.3027
or Christie Norman, Vice President 409.766.0014.
All items must be individual servings.
Items must be shelf-stable (no refrigeration) and easy to open by students (grades Pre-K through 5). Items do not have to be name-brand as listed; but all items must be the correct size for consistency.
Milk – 8 oz carton, non-refrigerated
Juice boxes – 6.75 oz (no pouches)
Cereal (ex. Kellogg’s Variety Pack)
Cookies (ex. Nabisco individual bags)
Cheese Crackers / Peanut Butter Crackers
Cheez-it or Goldfish Crackers
Slim Jims, small (ex. 120 per box)
Chewy Granola Bars
Our Annual Card Party to benefit the Backpack Buddy Program was a huge success! Thank you to all the volunteers who made it happen and to those who attended! We could not have done it without you ALL!