Backpack Program

Did you know the age of 18 years old in Vilas County are at or below the poverty line?  These children get most of their meals at school an that according to 2014 Census information, 58% of these children go without food on the weekends.

In partnership with Eagle River Elementary, Land O’Lakes Elementary, and St. Germain Elementary, the local community is providing meals through the “Weekend Backpack” project.  Backpacks are sent home on Friday with “child-friendly, easy-to-prepare” food items that might not be the most nutritious, but would provide the necessary calories to help eliminate their hunger.  Many of the parents are working several minimum wage jobs, living in basements with only a microwave and a one burner hot plate, and struggling to keep their children fed.

The Backpack Program started in the March 2015 with one hungry 3rd grader and the heart of a school volunteer. Since then, the Backpack program has grown to over 72 elementary students at Eagle River Elementary School and Land O’Lakes Elementary School, and approximately 10 students at St. Germain Elementary School.

In April 2017, “The Locker” was launched. The Locker is a food and personal care pantry directly located in the Northland Pines Middle School/High School building and serves over 60 students. In addition, “The Room”opened at Eagle River Elementary School to provide emergency food for students and families. The Locker and the Room have refrigerators in order to provide healthy perishable food options as well. Personal care items and school supplies are also available.

Shepherd of the Lakes Lutheran Church and the St. Germain community supports this program for St. Germain Elementary School/Northland Pines Montessori and Learning Center.

Student participants’ names are kept confidential by the school and school district staff. Students and parents self-identify and/or identified by school staff.

How Can You Help?

You can help by dropping off needed items at one of the local drop-off sites. Also monetary tax-deductible donations can be made out to Prince of Peace Lutheran Church, PO Box 535, Eagle River, WI 54521 or dropped off at Incredible Bank.

Drop-Off Locations
Prince of Peace Lutheran Church
St. Peter the Fisherman Catholic Parish
American Family Insurance
Incredible Bank

Volunteers are also needed to pack the bags each week. For more information contact Pastor Andrea Fluegel for times and details.

Items Needed:

Individual fruit cups Microwave Mac and Cheese (Easy Mac)
Oatmeal packages Individual pudding cups (chocolate/vanilla)
Individual and large cereal boxes Graham crackers, Rice Krispie bars, Goldfish crackers and other snack items (no chips, please)
Granola bars, breakfast,  and cereal bars Spaghetti-O’s, Dinty Moore Stew, Hormel Chili or other non-perishable microwavable meals (small individual sizes preferred)
Small jars of peanut butter Soup (canned, microwavable, dry packets/cups)
Peanut butter crackers Mini microwavable popcorn
Cheese crackers Microwavable potatoes, rice, pasta (various kinds)
Individual juice, Gatorade, boxed non-perishable milk, and other drinks not requiring refrigeration

Items need to be individually wrapped and easy for a young child to make.

Also needed are shampoo, conditioner, soap/body wash, laundry pods, school supplies, and feminine hygiene products.

To learn more about the Backpack Program, listen here.

The Eagle River Backpack Program was recently featured on WSAW’s Our Town Eagle River Segment on June 20, 2018.

The Backpack Program is proud to partner with the Northland Pines School District and Feed Our Rural Kids (FORK) in providing support and encouragement to youth and families.