31 Backpacks prepares for Spring Break packing event

31 Backpacks has been providing packs of food for grade school kids for 11 years.
Published: Mar. 26, 2023 at 8:35 PM EDT
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HANCOCK, Mich. (WLUC) - A nonprofit in Hancock is looking to keep kids fed over Spring Break.

Volunteers for 31 Backpacks gathered at Glad Tidings Church in Hancock on Sunday. The volunteers prepared tables to pack food for grade school children over Spring Break.

Vice-President and Co-Founder of 31 Backpacks Melissa Maki said the need for food over Spring and Winter break is massive.

“[Monday] is going to be between 900 and 1,000 bags of food, personal hygiene products,” said Maki. “It’s a lot of things like vegetables, and pasta, spam, bread, they’re getting bags of oranges, bags of apples, shampoo, body wash, toothpaste, deodorant, paper towel, toilet paper, those are things we typically send home for one of these big packs.”

31 Backpacks has been providing packs of food for at-risk kids for 11 years. Maki said these packs may reduce the stress of food insecurity.

“Our philosophy, also, is that perhaps if these kids are getting proper nutrition they can take advantage of the education that they’re getting now,” Maki said. “And perhaps break out of the cycle that they’re in.”

Sunday, food and personal hygiene products were prepared for packing. Monday, volunteers will pack bags, which will be brought to schools in Baraga, Houghton and Keweenaw counties.

Maki said you don’t have to sign up to help out.

“We tell people just to show up and we’ll find something for you to do,” Maki said. “This is the biggest turnout I’ve ever seen, the numbers went way down during COVID understandably, but this was a tremendous turnout we had today, we’re so happy and everybody had something to do.”

Maki likened this effort to the butterfly effect.

“Where you do something small, like a butterfly flapping its wings, and it adds up to a big thing in the end,” Maki said. “What we’re hoping that we do here is making that small change in kids’ lives that ends up being a big thing somewhere down the road.”

Those who are interested in helping are encouraged to go to the Glad Tiding Church at 601 Ingot St. in Hancock at 5:45 p.m. on Monday.

To learn more about 31 Backpacks, you can visit their Facebook.