News Feature

Originally published in The Weekly Packet, June 28, 2018
Brooklin PTF signs off on Backpack Program
Food goes home for the weekend

The Brooklin School will join two other area schools that have taken measures to ensure students don’t go hungry at home. On June 6, the school board approved a Backpack Program for 2018-19, funded by the Parents-Teachers-Friends group.

“We’ve definitely heard from teachers that there’s an increased need for food,” said PTF member and organizer Molly Blake.

The Backpack Program is a national initiative started by nonprofit Feeding America, where a grocery bag of food is tucked into students’ backpacks when they are out of the classroom. Surry and Blue Hill began backpack programs in 2017.

Brooklin parents will receive an opt-out form before the program begins this fall, with a long weekend and vacation week. If that goes well, parents will be sent a survey and, based on the responses, the program may then occur each Friday.

The PTF now funds after-school snacks and stocks a fridge, so a teacher can place food in a hungry student’s backpack to take home.

“It’s getting eaten, for sure,” Blake said.

In 2017, the school added breakfast to its state meal plan, which offers free or reduced meals to students who qualify.

“You can look at the numbers of free and reduced lunch [at the Brooklin School] and they have been increasing every year,” Blake said. “It’s a little depressing, but at least we can do something about it.”

Blake estimates the cost at $1.50 per meal, saying “because we’re a little bit smaller school,” fresh fruits and vegetables may be packed along with prepackaged food. Brooklin General Store will help with ordering on a volunteer basis.

To donate to the Brooklin Backpack Program, email or call Molly Blake at 266-1298. Donations will be earmarked for the backpack program.