31 Backpacks prepares for winter break Big Pack to donate food to school children

The non-profit 31 Backpacks is preparing for its Big-Pack event, where members and volunteers...
The non-profit 31 Backpacks is preparing for its Big-Pack event, where members and volunteers will pack and prepare donated food to ship to school children on winter break who rely on school meals.(WLUC)
Published: Dec. 6, 2022 at 7:22 PM EST
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MARQUETTE, Mich. (WLUC) - The nonprofit 31 Backpacks is preparing for its winter break Big Pack event starting Dec. 11.

It will be packing donated food and hygiene products to ship to children who rely on school meals.

The event will be at the Glad Tidings Assembly of God Church in Hancock.

There will be a set-up for the Big Pack on Sunday starting at 1 p.m., with the pack itself starting at 6 p.m. sharp on Monday.

“Even 5:30 p.m. would be ideal,” said 31 Backpacks Organization Vice President Melissa Maki. “It goes really fast. If it takes more than half an hour, I’ll be surprised. So if you show up at 6:20, we might be close to done. Being on time is very important.”

Volunteers will then be needed from 7:45 to 10 a.m. Tuesday morning to help load school buses.

The buses will deliver the items to school districts to be distributed.

“When we do the set-up on Sunday afternoon, we typically look at in the neighborhood of about 50 volunteers.” continued Maki. “The actual Big Pack on Monday night, we usually have around 50 to 75 people and a couple dozen on Tuesday morning would be great.”

According to Maki, the organization’s method of handling the Big Pack is very efficient after years of practice.

“Most people that come out to volunteer, their takeaway is that the operation is very smooth running, it’s very quick, fast-paced, and they’re surprised by how much gets done in such a short amount of time,” added Maki. “We’ve been doing this for 10 years, so we have a well-oiled machine, as people like to say.”

Volunteers do not have to sign up and can meet at the church at the listed times to help.

For more information, check out the 31 Backpacks Facebook page.