Sarah, a parent in the AWARE program’s former Snackpacker program, lost her job and moved four times in the previous eighteen months. She said the stress of her situation was beyond anything she had ever been through.
Her daughter, Caitlyn, was very appreciative of the food provided each week.
“I think what got me the most was something that my daughter said. She had some other kids at school see her with one of the backpacks from AWARE and one of them said to her, ‘Are you in the backpack program?’ My daughter replied, YES, they help people in need when they need it and right now my mommy and I need help.”
Sarah says without the help and guidance from Program Manager Julie Hermanson and the AWARE services, she is not sure they would have been able to keep moving forward and help rebuild their lives. “The AWARE Program has probably been the best thing to happen to my daughter and me. We are more than grateful,” said Sarah.
Snackpackers provided weekly food distributions to low-income families using numbered backpacks. Volunteers packed the backpacks at the AWARE office and delivered them to the schools where they were taken home by participating children.
It is difficult for smaller communities to offer services for low-income residents as their resources are very limited. Living in a rural community also presents transportation issues. The Snackpacker program allowed families to receive nutritious, kid-friendly foods on a weekly basis without the trip to the food pantry. Not only did the backpacks carry food, but they also carried flyers and information about other opportunities such as free dental clinics, birthday cakes and swim passes/lessons; holiday meals/programs, free community events, etc.