Holy Apostles Soup Kitchen launched a Backpack Pantry Program to provide weekend meals for children whose families are struggling to put meals on their tables. Through this new program, we’re filling 100 backpacks each Thursday with a nutritious assortment of breakfast, lunch and dinner foods so that homeless families of children attending P.S. 33 and other residents in need nearby can be assured of having meals over the weekend when school meals and many emergency food programs are not available. The backpacks are filled with non-perishable foods, such as tuna fish, soup, chili, rice, fruit cups, cereal, and shelf-stable milk, to participating students and their caregivers each Thursday. Families return the following Thursday and exchange their empty backpacks for ones filled with food.
One of every ten New York City students enrolled in public schools lived in a homeless shelter during the last school year, according to a recent report by Advocates for Children of New York. The number of homeless students is higher than at any other time since the records have been compiled.
The Backpack Pantry Program grew out of our brown bag lunch distributions that began in 2017, which is for homeless P.S. 33 students in after-school programs, seniors, and homeless individuals in the neighborhood.