Williamsport Area SD BackPack program teaches skills, meets a need
A hands-on opportunity in school citizenship and service for Williamsport Area High School life skills students is helping to alleviate hunger and improve the educational experience for some of their peers.
In partnership with the Central Pennsylvania Food Bank, the high school launched a BackPack Program in September, which provides a bag of nonperishable food at the end of each week for participating students to take home and eat when school meal programs are unavailable. WAHS administrators hope to send 100 backpacks home each week by the end of the school year.
One of the key components of the program is having life skills students handle the delivery of donated food, stock and manage the inventory, and fill the backpacks ahead of distribution every Friday or before a long break. Each bag is typically packed with two breakfast options, two lunch options, juice boxes, and two snack options — one can of fruit and one can of vegetables.
The marriage of the program with the school’s life skills curriculum helps provide an authentic, real-world experience for those students.
“While they assist in the manpower needed for the operation of the program, it also teaches the students the value and importance of citizenship and service at a concentrated level in their school community,” said Dr. Richard Poole, director of student services.
The BackPack Program is funded by the Williamsport Area School District Education Foundation through a grant from The Harry Plankenhorn Foundation and by the Central Pennsylvania Food Bank. See a video on the BackPack Program on the district’s website: http://www.wasd.org/site/default.aspx?PageType=3&DomainID=1&ModuleInstanceID=2373&ViewID=047E6BE3-6D87-4130-8424-D8E4E9ED6C2A&RenderLoc=0&FlexDataID=11823&PageID=1