Walk to feed Pawtucket children this Mother's Day

Walk to feed Pawtucket children this Mother's Day

PAWTUCKET – This Sunday, May 12, the Pawtucket Backpackers volunteer group will host a walkathon at Slater Memorial Park to fight hunger in city schools. The event will run from 8 to 10 a.m.

Find a link to download a registration form and waiver at the “Walk in the park to fight hunger in Pawtucket” Facebook page. All walkers must have a signed waiver. Bring a canned good to help the cause.

Pawtucket has 6,700 students living at or below poverty, according to organizers of the Pawtucket Backpackers group.

“Our need is great,” states a plea for sponsorships from Joanne Bonollo, leader of the effort. “While we cannot help all, with your assistance, we can assist many.”
The Pawtucket Backpackers are working with support from the COZ program, Sodexo Food Services, the Pawtucket School Committee Wellness Subcommittee and city officials.

Sodexo, the food service provider for Pawtucket schools, is coordinating the “Backpacks” campaign, a fledgling program designed to provide the poorest students in the city with food for the weekends, a two-day period that many report is when they’re the most hungry. The program is starting out serving students in the city’s three poorest elementary schools: Cunningham, Winters, and Baldwin.

According to school officials, the percentage of local students in poverty has increased to about 77 percent. With so many children living at poverty or below and approximately 40 of them homeless, “it was time to take action and do something to help our students and families,” say organizers.

Current fundraising activities are designed to make the “Backpacks” program sustainable through the 2013-2014 school year.

The Backpacks campaign is faced with a greater need than at first expected. The first group of students to receive food, from three elementary schools, totals 96. There are another seven elementary schools to be added to the program.

Individuals or business owners who want to contribute money or non-perishable food items to the program are welcome to email psdri_backpack@verizon.net, or send checks payable to “Pawtucket Backpacks” and mail them to the administration building at 286 Main St., Pawtucket, RI 02860.