Backpack Program


Photo Credit: The Dalles Chronicle

The Backpack Program is a community-wide effort to provide food for food-insecure students over the weekends. The program currently provides food for over 100 students in our elementary schools, middle school, and high school. Volunteers meet on Thursday mornings at 10:00 to pack grocery bags with enough food for two breakfasts, two lunches, and snacks. This is truly a community effort that relies on the support of local churches, civic organizations, businesses, and the Oregon Food Bank. The Backpack Program was the recipient of this year’s Tradition of Compassion Award which is a tribute to the generosity of The Dalles community.

End of School Year letter from Glenis and Silvia:

I have some statistics for this school year for you so prepare to be wowed.  I am breaking this down by school so you can see where the 3,491 bags are distributed.

High School – 483 bags of food          Middle School – 125 bags of food
Dry Hollow – 434 bags of food           Colonel Wright  – 432 bags of food
Chenowith – 1703 bags of food           Cross Roads – 314 bags of food.

Looking at the numbers alone isn’t very impressive but if you add them up and remember that it is weekly, that’s about 103 bags of food each week of school.  That’s impressive and to think that each bag can feed more than one person for the weekend and probably helps a whole family through the weekend . . . . well, that’s impressive.

We asked for food and we got food.  We prayed for  money and we got money to purchase food.  I asked for gift cards to help the families over Christmas break and you supplied all the cards I needed.  On top of all of this we got to spend time with great folks, both young and old, funny and happy, faithful and really faithful and each and every one a special child of God.

Silvia and I talked frequently about the energy that recharged us each week that came from our volunteers.  We talked frequently about how you could feel the Holy Spirit at each packing session, see the Holy Spirit at work and be reaffirmed each week that we were a part of something alive and bigger than all of us together.

A huge sincere thank you and a hug to each of you and your groups of workers.  Please pass our thanks on to your group and let them know they have been a part of something Holy, huge and very alive.  I look forward to September and meeting you again.

Since the pantry is closed for the summer we aren’t there to collect food.  Please collect the fabric-like grocery bags over the summer and be ready to deliver them in August.  I will let you know when we’ll be there to meet you.  We need about 2000 bags to get through the year so ask your friends to save them for you, too. Donations of money can be sent to the church, just mark Community Back Pack in the memo line and send it to FUMC, 305 E. 11th Street.  Have a great and relaxing summer and rest up for the fall!!!!!

May the peace of God fill you to the brim!!!

Glenis Schreffler           Silvia Ashmore